African Americans Are Disproportionately Affected by Kidney Disease In MississippiBy Paul Boger | Published 11 Mar 2014 08:30am |
Kidney Diseases is the seventh leading cause of death in Mississippi, but as MPB's Paul Boger reports African Americans are nearly four times more likely to suffer from the disease than Caucasians.
Tre Nelson has been living with kidney disease since the mid-90's. He says the dialysis treatments he receives three time a week take a toll on his life.
"Went to college in 1996, and my kidneys went completely out." said Nelson. "I started dialysis in 96. The toll taken out of dialysis, people don't realize it's a 24 hour thing. It's not four hours sitting in that chair in the center, it's constantly 'What are you drinking? What are you eating?,' because everything affect dialysis. It's constantly in the back of your mind regardless of wherever you go or what ever you do. It's like you're being punished."
Statistics show that nearly one-in-six African Americans adults will be diagnosed with the disease. While increased rates of diabetes and high blood pressure are among the leading reasons of kidney failure in the African American community, Doctor Mohit Ahuja with Central Nephrology Clinic in Jackson says there is an even larger factor at play.
"African Americans have always had a very high propensity to kidney disease versus their Caucasian counterparts." said Ahuja. "For what we kind of seen in the last several years, and from what we've taught for the last 20 years is that unfortunately is a genetic predisposition that African Americans are more prone to have less kidney function even at birth then Caucasians.
While there is no cure for kidney disease, Ahuja says prevention and education to the causes and effects of the illness could lead to a decline in new cases. That's a good thing says Nelson, because according to him for most people kidney disease ends only one way -- death.
"I see so many people come and go on dialysis." said Nelson. "It's a thing; you never know, because you see people 'Hey, how you doing?,' tomorrow they might be gone. It's no question asked. It's not like 'What happened?' You know what happened."
Mississippi is tied with Alabama and Tennessee for having the highest rates of kidney disease in the nation.
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