Dialysis clinics are popping up all of the Greater Houston Metropolitan Area like banks. Have you ever wondered about End State Renal Disease? I am told that uncontrolled diabetes or high blood pressure can cause kidney failure (will have to research in my "spare" time).
Recently I met a 29-year-old and his 57-year-old father, both on dialysis. On the same day, about a mile away I visited with a woman who became my client, who has ESRD. None of these people are of Medicare age. All of them have well-worn Medicare Cards. Over the last ten years or so, dialysis providers have consolidated, resulting in two large organizations treating approximately 72% of all U.S. dialysis patients. What does this do to costs? A diagnosis of ESRD entitles one of any age for Medicare. ESRD costs are generally over $600,000 a year.
While I cannot spout a lot of medical mumbo jumbo about ESRD, I do believe that stuff we drink -- and stuff we should drink but don't -- can have a deleterious effect on kidney function. Various studies show that the consumption of soda in the United States is about 50 gallons per person per year. Realistically, many consume much more (someone has to be drinking my share because the occasional Diet Mountain Dew, about one a month, is only 1.5 gallons a year).
In 2011 there were about 507,326 in the Medicare ESRD population and 108,573 in the non-Medicare population. Medicare spending on its ESRD population in 2011 was $34.4 billion. (usrd.org) Many ESRD patients qualify for Medicaid, hence an additional drain on states’ funds.
This is not a "don’t treat ‘em" speech. Rather, it is a suggestion that "we" take better care of our bodies. There are things we can do, and things we can refrain from doing, to help ourselves. Get regular checkups for early detection of dieseases. If diabetes is an issue, avoid stress, eat a healthy diet, exercise, take medications as directed, reduce/eliminate alcoholic beverages, and monitor blood glucose. If high blood pressure is an issue, avoid stress, eat a healthy diet, exercise, take medications as directed, reduce/eliminate alcoholic beverages, monitor blood pressure. And drink water.
Sounds kind of redundant? Yep.