A family history of kidney disease was a mystery to Nancy Jordan until it was too late to solve without dialysis.
Jordan’s father was on dialysis until he died in 2006. Because he had been adopted, doctors thought his high blood pressure caused kidney disease. When Jordan was diagnosed with the same condition, doctors told her there must be a family history.
“We didn’t know to have our blood checked. We didn’t know it was in our family history,” said Jordan, of Augusta.
An emergency room trip for an allergic reaction to medication revealed what Jordan never knew. A blood test determined that her kidneys were failing, so she was admitted for two days to the intensive care unit.
Jordan’s kidney function continually dropped, and she started dialysis in November.
On Saturday, Augusta residents age 18 and older can be screened for kidney disease and its leading causes – blood pressure and diabetes. The American Kidney Fund is holding Kidney Action Day, one of seven events this year across the nation.
LaVarne Burton, the president and CEO of the American Kidney Fund, said Augusta was chosen for the screenings because of its high rates of kidney failure, high blood pressure and diabetes.
In the 13-county East Central Health District, which includes Augusta, there was a rate of 871 hospitalizations per 100,000 for kidney disease in 2010.
“We can bring those numbers down and get people the care they need,” Burton said. “It makes no sense to get a disease that puts you so much at risk.”
Kidney disease is the ninth-leading cause of death in the nation. In Georgia, it ranks eighth.
The American Kidney Fund donated more than $300,000 to treatment-related assistance in the Augusta area in 2012.
After her diagnosis, Jordan recognized signs of kidney failure that she ignored. She urinated two or three times a night and felt tired.
“Maybe if I could have had it checked earlier, I wouldn’t be on dialysis now,” she said.
Jordan, who has neither high blood pressure nor diabetes, is trying become eligible for a kidney transplant. She hopes one of her three children can be a donor match.