March is National Kidney month and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center is joining in the recognition campaign to help spread the message that kidney disease is preventable. Claxton-Hepburn has been the center of kidney disease care in the North Country since the late 1960’s when Claxton-Hepburn opened the first dialysis unit north of Syracuse. Presently, at its Ravinder N. Agarwal Renal Center, life-sustaining dialysis is provided to 78 local residents as well as transients coming to the North Country to visit or vacation, and is the only facility in the region providing home dialysis for its patients. The Agarwal Renal Center also participates in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s voluntary 5 Diamond program which was designed to assist dialysis facilities in improving staff and patient awareness of specific patient safety issues.
According to the American Kidney Fund, kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. An estimated 31 million Americans (10% of the adult population) have chronic kidney disease, and nine out of ten who have moderately decreased kidney function do not know it. According to Dr. Michael Seidman, MD and nephrologist at Claxton-Hepburn’s Ravinder Agarwal Renal Center, kidney disease rarely exists alone. He stated, “People with high blood pressure, heart disease, vascular disease, and diabetes, very often have significant kidney disease.” He continued, “What’s worse, is that kidney disease also makes these problems harder to manage, and results in worse outcomes for patients.”
Nephrologist Dr. Manasvi Jaitly, MD, also from the Agarwal Renal Center, and Dr. Seidman have several jobs, with the biggest being helping providers manage kidney disease and its consequences. Dr. Jaitly stated, “Our goal is to slow down or stop the progression of renal disease, and reduce the effects of kidney disease on people’s health and lives.” He continued, “Early identification of the problem and using the right medications is often very effective in stabilizing kidney function and preventing complications.”
He concluded, “Despite our best efforts, when a person’s kidney function cannot keep them going, we have many options including inpatient and outpatient dialysis, home dialysis, which is much better for our patients’ quality of life, and a kidney transplant for those who have lost all kidney function.”
It takes a team approach to treat kidney disease. It is very important that patients learn to avoid things that can make their kidneys worse. At the Agarwal Renal Center, a registered dietitian works with dialysis patients and their families to teach them how to modify their diet, the nephrologist and primary care provider adjust medications accordingly and a social worker helps with personal and social needs. The nursing staff provides the dialysis teaching and treatments.
Dr. Seidman stated, “When a person does not receive regular medical care, advanced kidney disease can show up. When that happens, it is frustrating for us as providers, because it limits the treatment options for patients.” Dr. Jaitly added, “Seeing your healthcare provider on a regular basis will help detect signs of kidney disease such as fluid retention and high blood pressure, and identify abnormal labs at an early stage when we can offer better treatment options.”
For more information about the Dr. Ravinder Agarwal Renal Center staff are defending your tomorrow, visit us at www.claxtonhepburn.org/enalcare. Shown in the photo front row are renal center staff Dr. Jaitly, Renal Center Director Rich Pandel, Becky LaRock, Tori Whitman, Kim David and Dr. Seidman. In the second row are Michele Evans, Allison Felt, Kandy Simmons, Steve Turcotte and Paul Jarvis.