For National Kidney Month, Take Five For Your Kidneys

                          March is National Kidney Month and the National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana is calling on all Americans to take five healthy steps for their kidneys

The kidneys are the body’s chemical factories, filtering waste and performing vital functions that control things like red blood cell production and blood pressure. But over time, the kidneys can become damaged with little or no physical symptoms to warn you that your kidneys are in trouble.

All Americans can do 5 simple things to protect their kidneys:

 1. Get Tested! Ask your doctor for an ACR urine test or a GFR blood test annually if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, are over age 60, or have a family history of kidney failure. Get screened for free through the NKFL KEEP Healthy program by visiting

2. Reduce NSAIDs. Over the counter pain medicines, such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), may alleviate your aches and pains, but they can harm the kidneys, especially if you already have kidney disease. Reduce your regular use of NSAIDs and never go over the recommended dosage.

3. Cut the Processed Foods. Processed foods can be significant sources of sodium, nitrates and phosphates, and have been linked to cancer, heart disease and kidney disease. Try adopting the DASH diet to guide your healthy eating habits.

4. Exercise Regularly. Your kidneys like it when you exercise. Regular exercise will keep your bones, muscles, blood vessels, heart and kidneys healthy. Getting active for at least 30 minutes a day can also help you control blood pressure and lower blood sugar, which is vital to kidney health.

5. Stay Well Hydrated. Staying well hydrated helps your kidneys clear sodium, urea and toxins from the body. Drinking plenty of water, and avoiding sugary beverages, is also one of the best ways to avoid painful kidney stones. kidney failure may need to restrict their fluid intake, but for most people, drinking 1.5 to 2 liters (3 to 4 pints) of water per day is a healthy target.


The National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana is pleased to announce the “2015 Love Your Kidneys Cenla” weekend. The weekend events will take place in Alexandria from April 11 – April 13, 2015 and guarantees an experience that will be jam-packed with activities all geared towards raising funds, spreading awareness, and supporting the fight against kidney disease.

We will kick things off on April 11th as we gear up to take to the streets of downtown Alexandria for the “2015 5K Run and Walk.” The 1 mile Walk and 5k Run will feature a Health and Wellness tent, great food, music, local vendors, and activities for children.

Later, we’ll prepare to tee off at Oakwing Golf Club on April 13th as we host the 18th Alexandria Golf Invitational.  This four man scramble will have a shotgun start at 12:00 p.m. and include lunch, a great day full of fun and fellowship, and an awards ceremony.


If you are interested in participating in one or both of these events, please contact Julie Gable or David Warner at 504.861.4500.



Organ donors gave more than 2 million years of life to sick patients


Kidney transplant

Hearts, kidneys and other donated organs have added more than 2 million years to the lives of the American patients who received them, according to a new analysis.

That tally, published this week by the journal JAMA Surgery, covers 25 years of organ donation in the U.S. Researchers started with 1987, the year when the United Network for Organ Sharing began keeping track of all organ transplants in the U.S.

Between Sept. 1, 1987, and Dec. 31, 2012, 533,329 patients received a donated organ (or perhaps two). Another 579,506 patients were put on the UNOS waiting list but didn’t get an organ. By comparing the outcomes for patients in both groups, the researchers were able to calculate how much longer the transplant recipients lived as a result of their new organs.

So far, that number adds up to 2,270,859 years – a “stellar accomplishment,” according to the study authors.

And that number will keep on getting bigger as long as any of the transplant recipients are still alive. More than half of those extra years – 1,372,969 of them – have been lived by people who had kidney transplants, the researchers calculated. Another 465,296 extra years have been lived by recipients of new livers, and 269,715 years have been lived by people who got new hearts. The other beneficiaries included people who received new lungs (64,575 extra years), a new pancreas (14,903 extra years), a pancreas and a kidney (79,198 extra years) and intestines (4,402 extra years).

The analysis does not include patients who had rare kinds of transplants, such as heart-pancreas transplants and liver-lung transplants, because there were too few of these procedures to be able to make good comparisons with patients who needed such transplants but didn’t get them.The researchers also calculated the number of years gained per patient, based on the type of transplant they received. By this measure, heart transplants were the most successful, giving patients an extra 4.9 years, on average. Patients who had a combined pancreas-kidney transplant (to treat kidney failure due to type 1 diabetes) lived an average of 4.6 years longer than their counterparts who went on the wait list but didn’t get new organs. Kidney recipients averaged 4.4 extra years, liver recipients averaged 4.3 extra years, intestine recipients averaged 2.8 extra years and pancreas recipients averaged 2.6 extra years, according to the study.

These results may cause some people to rethink the benefits of organ transplants, the researchers wrote. For instance, a kidney transplant is often viewed as “merely a life-enhancing” surgery, since someone who doesn’t get a new kidney can make do on dialysis. But with a typical kidney transplant patient benefiting more than a typical liver transplant patient, the operation should be considered “a lifesaving procedure,” they wrote.

The same argument can be made for transplants involving a pancreas, which are sometimes viewed as “simply a convenient insulin replacement therapy,” they added.

All of this good news was tempered by one statistic, however: only 48% of patients sick enough to be put on the UNOS waiting list are able to get new organs, according to the study. That means more people need to be willing to donate their organs.

“The critical shortage of donors continues to hamper this field,” the researchers wrote. If more donors come forward and more transplants are performed, Americans can make good on the “tremendous potential to do even more good for humankind in the future.”


“Family keeps faith in difficult time”


Check out our president -elect, Shaminder Gupta’s response to an article featured in the Times Picayune on home dialysis.

I enjoyed the article and I would like to comment on other dialysis options that are available to young dialysis patients like Darin Tassin.

I am the president-elect of the National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana and am passionate about the use of home-based dialysis options.  In the United States, there are currently 600,000 patients on dialysis yet only 10 percent utilize home-based dialysis.  If you ask health care providers what type of dialysis they would choose for themselves or a loved one, 90 percent would choose a home-based therapy.

 There is a general lack of education about dialysis options for patients and there is a general fear among patients about home dialysis.  These two issues need to be reconciled to help provide the best care for patients like Mr. Tassin.

 Home-dialysis options include peritoneal dialysis and home hemodialysis.  There are new centers in the area that focus only on these treatments and actually come to the patient’s home to train the patient and spouse or caregiver. 

 Shaminder Gupta, MD



For more information about dialysis modality options, please contact the National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana, 504-861-4500 or visit the website:

Watch these videos for local patients and their experiences with home dialysis:



 Walking- A Natural Way To Prevent Chronic Kidney Disease

In recent surveys conducted by Statistics Canada, it was found that approximately 30% of the population reported walking regularly (four or more times per week) and that 70% walked at least once in the past three months. Naturally, walking is a simple activity for enhancing health and well-being.  In fact, in a recent study by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center on the relationship between steps/day and metabolic health, it was found that approximately 56% of people in the lowest category of steps/day had metabolic syndrome (defined by having the presence of three or more cardiovascular disease risk factors) compared to only 13% of people in the highest steps/day group.

Furthermore, the odds of having metabolic syndrome was 10% lower for every additional 1000 steps/day people took.  So, even though moderate and vigorous levels of physical activity is important to one’s health, the total amount of physical activity as measured by steps/day is also a significant factor.

Action Tip: 
If you have a pedometer, track your daily steps over the next three days to determine your baseline average steps per day, and then see if you can increase that number by 1000 steps/day.  If you don’t have a pedometer, create a personal route that you routinely walk on your activity tracker and count the steps total.  At the end of three days, extend your route by an extra 1,000 steps!Source: Taking Steps to Improve Health by Walking Peter T. Katzmarzyk, PhD, Associate Executive Director for Population Science and Louisiana Public Facilities Authority Endowed Chair in Nutrition, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA. Research UPDATE published by the Alberta Centre for Active Living March 2011.



Monday, April 13, 2015- 18th Annual Alexandria Golf Invitational benefiting the National Kidney Foundation @ OakWing Golf Club

Monday, June 8, 2015- 19th Annual Baton Rouge Liberty Mutual Invitational benefiting the National Kidney Foundation @ Country Club of Louisiana

Monday, June 22, 2015- 2015 Squire Creek Liberty Mutual Insurance Invitational benefiting the National Kidney Foundation @ Squire Creek Country Club

Monday, October 26, 2015- 25th Annual New Orleans Liberty Mutual Insurance Invitational benefiting the National Kidney Foundation @ English Turn Golf & Country Club

Monday, November 9, 2015- 20th Annual Lafayette Liberty Mutual Insurance Invitational benefiting the National Kidney Foundation @ Oakbourne Country Club

Enjoy a great day of golf with your friends! Your support raises money for the Foundation’s programs and services. In addition, you can compete for the opportunity to play at Pinehurst, home of the 2014 U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open. Please contact  David Warner to register.




Say Yes! To Organ Donation

Become a donor by signing up on the Donate Life Louisiana website. When you say Yes! on your driver’s license, you are then registered as an organ, eye, and tissue donor.