by Michael McCann and Walter Valliere
Vizient Consulting Directors
As we approach the holiday season, we hope that people will give themselves the "gift of renal health" by making positive lifestyle choices to assist in reducing the risk associated with renal disease.
Our kidneys quietly work 24 hours a day removing the urea, toxins and excess water from our blood. It's a process that most people don't routinely contemplate and often we take kidney function for granted until we have a medical problem.
What causes a kidney to cease normal operations? There is no single answer. While there are numerous confounding factors that play roles in kidney failure and chronic kidney disease (CKD), the biggest risk factors for CKD are high blood pressure, diabetes (Type I and Type II levels) and obesity. Other factors that are associated with impaired kidney function include:
- A history of urinary tract infections and kidney stones
- 45 years of age or older
- Excessive alcohol consumption
What can people do to keep their kidneys in tip-top shape? Some simple lifestyle changes can contribute to reducing the risk of impaired kidney function this holiday season and throughout the year. Here are some examples of changes that anyone can embrace according to the CDC's Chronic Kidney Disease Initiative:
- Make healthy food choices (reduce sodium aim for less than 2,300 milligrams daily)
- Get 30 minutes of physical activity daily
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get eight hours of sleep each night
- Make healthy life choices (stop smoking, manage your risk factors, take medication as directed)
- Engage in moderation (no extremes)
- Ask your physician if you are at risk. A simple routine blood test will provide the answer.
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Sadly, once a person loses kidney function, the only viable life sustaining option is dialysis, which can be as tough on some patients as CKD is on the kidneys. People with CKD who lack a transplant option, spend three days a week for four or more hours of treatment at a clinic or they receive dialysis at home for the rest of their lives. So be proactive. Take care of your kidneys and enjoy the holiday season.
About the author
Michael McCann brings over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry, including working with dialysis clinics, mid-sized retirement communities and nursing homes. Michael's primary skills include extensive knowledge of dialysis and its operational means. This experience aligns with his role at Vizient, where he consults with acute programs to reach clinical and financial goals set by acute providers. Prior to joining Vizient, Michael dedicated nearly 12 years serving as the Director of Operations for Fresenius Kidney Care, a global leader in dialysis services. There, he served as a peer mentor while working to meet KPI's and financial goals. He managed ten clinics throughout the Western Pennsylvania area where his successful management style led to him consulting for other regions. Michael has an extensive background in CCRC and in nursing home communities.
Walter Valliere brings more than 49 years of experience leading initiatives to grow market share and reduce operating costs through process improvements, strategic outsourcing, business restructuring, business consolidations, supply chain optimization and new venture development. During 10 years with Vizient, Valliere has also held principal leadership/ownership positions with both a multi-site, multi-state independent laboratory and a specialty consulting firm that served the biotech, biopharma and healthcare industries. He also holds advanced certifications in ITIL, PRINCE2 project management and Six Sigma.