What Causes Anxiety? New Jersey Anxiety Expert Explains…

What Causes Anxiety?

Research shows that the causes of anxiety are not fully known, but a number of factors can trigger it in any one person — including genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental stresses — appear to contribute to the development of anxiety.

  • Your Genetics: Some research supports the idea that family history plays a role in increasing the chances that a person will develop anxiety. This means that the tendency to develop anxiety may be passed on in families.
  • Brain chemistry: Anxiety has been attributed with abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) in the brain. These neurotransmitters are special chemical messengers that help carry information from nerve cell to nerve cell. When neurotransmitters become out of balance, messages cannot get through the brain properly. This can change the way the brain reacts in certain scenarios, leading to anxiety.
  • Environmental factors: Trauma and stressful events, such as abuse, passing away of a loved one, changing jobs, may lead to anxiety. Anxiety can also be triggered by environmental allergies and toxicities such as mold exposure.  Anxiety also may become worse during prolonged stress. The use of and withdrawal from addictive substances and certain foods, including alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine (cigarettes), can also worsen anxiety.
  • Fortunately, all three causes of anxiety can be greatly improved with my natural health services. Click here to read more about how I have helped hundreds of people overcome their anxiety…

    Dr. Robert Galarowicz
    Naturopathic Doctor, Clinical Nutritionist & Mind/Body Medicine

    The anxiety expert in the Essex, Monmouth, Ocean, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon, Morris, Richmond, Kings,  Bergen, Passaic, Hudson, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, Bronx, Rockland, West Chester, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, York, Lancaster, Bucks, Spring Valley, Kenilworth, 07013, 07470, 07026, 07652,Florham Park, Summit, Mountain Lakes, New Rochelle, Irvington, Whippany, Hillburn, Sumit, Roselle, Forest Hills, Suffern, Madison, Scarsdale,New Jersey new york Livingston, Riverdale, Tappan, Palisades, Montville, Sunnyside, Pearl River, NJ, NY, East Elmhurst, Woodside, East Hanover, Lake Hiawatha, Brooklyn, Millburn, Hillside, Mahwah, Bayonne, Orangeburg, Vauxhall, Flushing, Haskell, Elizabeth, anxiety treatments in new jesrsey and new york queens and staten island NJJackson Heights, Hastings on Hudson, East Elmhurst, Wanaque, Maspeth, Short Hills, ny nj Mount Vernon, Piermont, Bronxville, Blauvelt, Parsippany, College Point, Elmhurst, Dobbs Ferry, Bloomingdale, Nanuet, Butler, Ardsley on Hudson, Corona, NY anxiety services Pelham, Tuckahoe, Tallman, Elmhurst, Middle Village, Monsey, Eastchester, Whippany, and Boonton.


Ten Ugly Reason To Stop Smoking

Want to Look Good?

Ten Ugly Reasons to Quit Smoking.

If you smoke, you’re not surprised by the news that smoking is terrible for your insides. Heart, lungs, nervous system and brain, sex drive—all are damaged by nicotine. You know all that, but knowing it may not be enough to make you want to quit.

But suppose smoking damaged you on the outside, where you and everyone else could see…

Well, if you keep smoking, it does. Here’s an ugly “short list” of the ways tobacco gradually, inevitably wrecks your looks.

Dark bags and circles under your eyes

You sleep poorly, and the way you feel is bad enough—and then you get a look at yourself in the mirror, and that’s worse.

If that happens often, you can probably blame your smoking habit: smokers are 4 times more likely to report they don’t feel rested after a night’s sleep, says a study conducted by Johns Hopkins. It may be that smokers have a mini-nicotine withdrawal every night, resulting in disturbed sleep. Hence the dragged out feeling in the morning, and those weary, baggy eyes looking back at you.

Stained teeth

No regular smoker will have a gorgeous white smile for long: nicotine permanently stains tooth enamel.

Of course, you can go the professioal cleaning route—if you’ve got the money left over after you’ve bought your ever-more-expensive cigarettes. The average pro tooth cleaning costs between $500 and $1,000.

Early skin aging

Wrinkles are fine on older folks. They’re signs of well-earned life experience. On a younger smoker, it’s a different story.

And younger smokers can count on getting them, because smoking makes skin age faster than normal. On average, by constricting the blood supply to your skin, the habit adds between 1 and 2 years worth of “old” to your face, beyond your chronological age.

Thinning, graying hair

To go with the premature wrinkles, smokers can look forward to prematurely aging hair. It will get thinner sooner than for non-smokers, and go gray sooner too. Apparently the toxins in smoke affect the hair follicles’ DNA, and form free radicals that cause cellular damage.

Particularly in men, the thinning tends to proceed to baldness. A study in Taiwan in 2007 found that, after discounting other baldness-factors like age and heredity, male smokers are twice as likely to lose their hair compared to nonsmoking men.

Increased Scarring

Few of us can expect to get through life without at least a few dings and abrasions. But if you’re a smoker, don’t be surprised if your wounds take longer to heal than your non-smoking friends. And when they do heal, you’re likely to be stuck with a larger, redder scar than they’d have from a comparable mishap.

It’s the fault of vasoconstriction—the effect that nicotine has on the blood vessels, narrowing them so that the oxygenated blood needed for healing can’t get to the injured area.

Tooth loss

Stained teeth are one thing—but losing them altogether is something else. Smoking gives you the increased likelihood of both. Tobacco lines you up for quite a few dental problems, mouth cancer and gum disease among them.

In 2005, a study in Britain published by the Journal of Clinical Periodontology revealed that tobacco use causes a sixfold increase in the risk of gum disease, leading to tooth loss.

Dull, discolored skin

“Smoker’s Face”. That’s the short, unsweet term a 1985 study used for the facial appearance that shows up again and again in smokers: premature wrinkles, general gauntness, and a dull, gray cast to the skin.

It’s really not surprising when you consider that every drag on a cigarette injects both nicotine and carbon monoxide into the bloodstream.

The monoxide displaces oxygen in the skin cells. The nicotine shrinks the delicate blood vessels, starving the cells of moisture and nutrients, including vitamin C. Result: dry, gray, lifeless looking skin.


Smoking makes you more vulnerable to human papillomaviruses, the group of viruses that cause warts. And that includes the genital variety.

Genital wart-causing viruses are transmitted by sexual contact, but for reasons that aren’t yet understood, smoking  creates a much greater risk of being infected. A study of sexually active women found that those who smoke are almost four times more likely to be infected than nonsmokers.

Skin cancer

Smoking causes cancer. Cancers of the lungs, the throat, the mouth, the esophagus, and more. And also of the skin.

If you smoke, your risk of getting squamous cell carcinoma, one of the commonest kinds of skin cancer, is three times that of a non-smoker, according to a 2001 study.

Stomach Flab

We’ve all heard that cigarettes depress appetite, and smokers often say they’re afraid that quitting will make them gain weight. It’s true that tobacco users often weigh less than nonsmokers of comparable build and lifestyle. But it turns out that smokers have more visceral fat than non-mokers, according to research done in Holland in 2009.

Visceral fat accumulates in deep pads around the internal organs, enlarging the body’s midsection. This not only contributes to an unattractive “no-waist” look, but increases the likelihood of serious disease, including diabetes.

These are 10 perfect reason to stop smoking. Need help to quit call me at 201.618.3534 or to read more about my stop smoking program click here…Hypnosis Laser Cold laser Treatment Hypnosis Laser Cold laser Treatment Hypnosis Laser Cold laser Treatment Hypnosis Laser Cold laser Treatment Hypnosis Laser Cold laser Treatment

A Key To A Long Life – Is It Fiber???

Recent Study: High Fiber in the Diet Decreases Risk of Death, Many Diseases

A newly-published US study of over 350,000 people over a nine-year period shows strong links between high amounts of fiber in the diet and reduced risks of death, including death from cardioascular, infectious, and respiratory diseases.

The National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study began in the mid-1990s by collecting food frequency questionnaire answers from 219,123 men and 168,999 women. Researches correlated the information with data on causes of death among the participants over nearly a decade of follow-up, using national registries. The focus was on amounts of fiber in the participants’ diets.

Fiber, defined as the portion of any food plant that is not readily digestible, is thought by many scientists to help protect humans from heart disease, obesity, and some types of cancer. Fiber reduces blood cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, promotes healthy bowel function and blood glucose levels, reduces inflammation, aids weight loss. It also binds to some carcinogenic substances, making their safe excretion more likely.

In a preliminary online report in February 2011, Dr. Yikyung Park of the National Cancer Institute and colleagues summarized their findings. The study participants’ questionnaire responses showed that they consumed fiber in a range of  13 to 29 grams per day for men and 11 to 26 grams per day for women.

During an average of nine years of follow-up, 20,126 of the 219,123 men died, and 11,330 of the 168,999 women. Higher levels of fiber correlated with significantly lower risk of total death, that is deaths counted without referring`to specific cause. The men and women in the highest fifth of fiber-intake rate (29.4 grams/day for the men, 25.8/day for women) had a 22% lower mortality rate than those who were in the lowest fifth for fiber consumption (12.6 grams/day for men and 10.8 grams/day for women).

Even better were the decreased risk factors for specific diseases. High fiber consumption was associated with a 24% to 56% reduction in risk of cardioascular, respiratory and infectious disease in men, and a 34 to 59% reduction in women. High dietary fiber from grain sources (though not from fruit and vegetable sources) correlated for both sexes with lessened risk of total deaths, as well as from death specifically due to respiratory, cancer, and cardiovascular illness.

The authors wrote in the online report, “The findings remained robust when we corrected for dietary intake measurement error using calibration study data; in fact, the association was even stronger with measurement error correction.” In conclusion, “The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend choosing fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains frequently and consuming 14 grams per 1,000 calories of dietary fiber. A diet rich in dietary fiber from whole plant foods may provide significant health benefits.”

The complete report is due to be printed in the June 14, 2011 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Kids’ Eating Impulses Influenced by Diners’ Facial Expressions

A recent French study suggests that young children are more responsive than adults to others’ facial expressions while eating. They’re more likely to want a given food after seeing a picture of someone looking happy while eating it.

The small research project studied the responses of 120 adults and children. The subjects were shown photos of people eating different identifiable foods, and then asked if they would like to eat some themselves. Some people in the photos were fat, some slender, some looked pleased while eating, while others wore expressions of disgust.

Across the board, the adults in the study responded most to the body weight of the photographic subjects, showing less desire to eat items that were being eaten by an overweight person.

But the children, who were 3 to 8 years old, were influenced by multiple factors. They were swayed to some degree by the diner’s weight, but more important was whether the food itself was something they already liked, and what emotion the diner was expressing while eating.

If the picture showed one of their favorite foods, the kids said they wanted some, no matter what the depicted diner’s weight was. Their desire for it was increased if the food was visibly pleasing to the diner, and lessened if the diner had a disgusted expression, with fatness or thinness apparently having no effect on their response.

In the case of foods they didn’t like, depicted emotions had a decisive influence. Pleased expressions made the children more likely to say they’d be willing to try the food, disgusted expressions had the opposite effect. Also, with disliked items, the body weight of the diner in the photograph counted more than with favorite foods: a slender diner looking happy prompted more openess to trying the questionable item than a fat one. An obese diner shown eating a disliked food had the kids expressing increased dislike for it.

Sylvie Rousset of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research discussed the findings, which have been published in the journal Obesity,  via e-mail with Reuters Health. “The children’s reactions were unexpected. To our knowledge, no experiment has shown the influence of ‘disgusted’ or ‘pleasant’ faces on children’s desire to eat.”

She explained that with children in this young age group, imitation of emotion shown by those around them may play a significant part, moreso than for adults.

To the degree that the youngsters were influenced by the body weight of the depicted eaters, they showed some awareness of the negative cultural attitudes about obesity, though not nearly to the degree shown by the adults.

The aim of this study and others like it, said Rousset, is to determine the “psychosocial” elements that form youngsters’ attitudes and long-term habits about food and eating. Do these findings translate into helpful suggestions for parents?

Parents would probably do well to be aware of the cues they give children at mealtime – often adults convey their feelings and opinions about different dishes without being aware of it, through those tell-tale facial expressions. Looking pleasant while eating healthy foods that you want your kids to like is probably a good idea.

Of course, real life situations don’t really mirror the conditions of scientific studies. The social aspects of food and dining are complex. For instance, the adult participants were at least partially turned off the idea of eating after seeing pictures of fat people eating—but other research has shown that people eat more when eating with a friend than with a stranger, particularly if both were overweight.

Got problems with your children eating certain foods??? I can help contact me at rob@drrobertg.com or call 201.618.3534 or contact me by clicking here.

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Menthol Cigarettes: No Increased Cancer Risk, Says New Study But There Still DEADLY..

Menthol Cigarettes: No Increased Cancer Risk, Says New Study

A surprising result from a new US study released in March 2011 indicates that menthol cigarettes pose no greater cancer risk to smokers than non-menthols. This contradicts an assumption held by many scientists that the addition of menthol leads to more exposure to toxins, therefore upping the risk for developing cancer. The new finding could have a significant effect on regulatory efforts to ban menthol smokes in the United States.

The study centered on a large number of older smokers utilizing community health centers.  According to Prof. William Blot at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN, “The key finding was that the risk of lung cancer was no higher in menthol smokers.

“In fact, it was a bit lower in mentholated compared to non-mentholated smokers and there was no significant difference in the rate of quitting smoking,” he elaborated in a telephone interview, saying that the lower risk rate surprised the researchers. “It was about 30 percent lower,” a number he called “statistically significantly lower.” “The hypothesis going in, although it wasn’t well supported, was that mentholated might be more toxic.”

Prof. Blot’s researchers studied adults 40-79 years of age who enrolled in the study through public health clinics in 12 states. Of these, 440 lung cancer patients were compared with 2,213 people of comparable sex, age, and race who did not suffer from lung cancer.  Menthol smokers smoking 20-plus cigarettes daily were approximately 12 times more likely to have developed lung cancer than persons who had never smoked at all. Non-menthol smokers who smoked similar amounts were 21 times more likely than non-smokers to be lung cancer sufferers.

For example, among people who smoke 20 or more cigarettes a day, menthol smokers were about 12 times more likely to have lung cancer than people who had never smoked, while non-menthol smokers were about 21 times more likely to have the disease.

Menthol cigarette brands have been rising in popularity with adolescents and the highest use has been among younger, newer smokers.

Blot, who has no ties with tobacco companies, said his study only looked at older smokers and could not address concerns that adding menthol to cigarettes made it easier for younger smokers to tolerate smoking.

Menthol cigarettes are a particular issue partly because of their increasing popularity with adolescents and other young smokers new to the habit. Some health advocates have held that the minty quality cuts the harsh quality of plain tobacco and thus makes it easier for kids to start, harder for them to quit. Tobacco companies say that menthol has no effect on the riskiness or addictiveness of cigarettes.

Prof. Blot, who has no connection with any tobacco company, said that because hisresearch only dealt with mature adults, its results have no bearing on whether menthol makes it easier for a young, beginning smoker to tolerate tobacco.

The study was designed to discoer if the toxicity and resultant cancer risk of menthols is, in fact, greater than regular cigarettes. Blot summarized: “The answer is, no, they are not.” The other issue covered was the comparative addictiveness of menthol smokes for adult smokers. “Our data indicated there is no evidence that menthol smokers have a harder time quitting smoking.” Prof. Blot said that the results suggest that menthol smokers smoke fewer cigarettes than non-menthol users. He said that he is comfortable with making a general statement that menthol cigarettes are no more damaging than regular cigarettes, and may be slightly less risky.

Asked what the FDA’s policy should be, he was definite: “Our take on this is that smoking is bad. There is no doubt about that. We’ve known it for years and years. To single out mentholated cigarettes compared to other types of cigarettes may not be necessary.”

There is never a better time to quit smoking then right now, I offer two services of using hypnosis and laser treatments to stop smoking. Click here to read about both.

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More Fruits And Vegetables For School Meals To Be Funded By USDA

In late March, 2011 the US Department of Agriculture announced greatly expanded funding for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for the nation’s schools.

The funds — $158 million for the 2011/2012 school year, a $48 million increase over the previous year’s level – go to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Guam, to be distributed to qualified schools.

According to a USDA statement quoting Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, “Improving the health and nutrition of our kids is a national imperative and by providing schools with fresh fruits and vegetables that expand their healthy options, we are helping our kids to have a brighter, healthier future. Every time our kids eat a piece of fruit or a vegetable, they are learning healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime.”

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which began as part of the 2008 Farm Bill, has expanded over the course of the intervening years. It complements the separate National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs in achieving the nutrition improvement goals of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (2010).

According to the USDA, the new funding levels mean that between 600,000 and 950,000 elementary school children will be able to have a free snack of a fresh fruit or veggie daily during the upcoming school year.

Nutrition can greatly benefit your childs health and illnesses…for info contact me at 201.618.3534

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Bed wetting Is More Common In Boys

Bed wetting (Enuresis) commoner in boys.

Nighttime bedwetting is a problem for about 5 out of every 100 kids, but according to a new study sponsored by the Journal of Pediatrics, it’s twice as common in boys as it is in girls.

The study, conducted by scientists at Prince of Wales Hospital at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, followed more than 6000 children. The gender results broke down at about seven out of 100 boys wetting the bed once a month or more, compared to about three out of 100 girls. According to Dr. Joseph Barone, a specialist in pediatric urology at Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, bedwetting is hereditary in about 40% of cases.

Dr. Barone, who did not take part in the new study, explained that the controlling links between brain and bladder may not be fully developed in bedwetting youngsters. Since girls mature faster, this may partly explain the discrepancy; but 99% of both sexes outgrow bedwetting by age 15.

The Journal of Pediatrics researchers studied about 6000 children between 6 and 11 years of age in Hong Kong, evenly divided between boys and girls. The subjects’ parents completed questionnaires recording how often their children wet their beds. The researchers were not surprised to find that the incidence went down markedly with age, with about 9 out of 100 six-year-olds wetting at night, and only about two out of 100 eleven-year-olds.

Dr. Barone said that for most kids suffering from bedwetting, the most effective means of cure is an alarm, a small device with a sensor that the child wears in his or her underwear, which switches on a sound alarm when wetness is detected. The small alarm can rest on the pillow by the child’s head, or be worn on the wrist. They are relatively inexpensive at around $50 or $60, with more deluxe models going for as much as $150. Used correctly, they cure bedwetting in 80 to 90 percent of cases.

In the small number of cases where the alarm doesn’t work, medications like imipramine and desmopressin acetate (DDAVP) may be prescribed – although Dr. Barone points out that they can have side effects, and are treatments rather than cures.

Another focus of the Hong Kong study was to explore any relation that might show up between bedwetting and sleep apnea. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that earlier researches had shown a possible link with this sleep disorder, which shows up in about 1 in 50 youngsters.

For this part of the study, smaller groups were compared, about 400 children who were deemed to be high-risk for sleep apnea and 200 who showed no such risk factor.

No correlation showed up, as the incidence of bedwetting in both these smaller groups was the same, approximately 9 out of 100. This overall incidence was higher than the incidence in the larger group of 6000, which may have been because the children were being closely monitored in a sleep lab.

The usual treatment for pediatric apnea is removal of tonsils and/or adenoids. Should the patient also suffer from bedwetting, said Dr. Barone, about half the time that condition will clear up too.

Dr. Barone reiterated that alarms cure the great majority of cases, and concluded, “Nothing else is going is going to cure bedwetting, other than outgrowing it.”

If your child needs help with bed wedding call me at 201.618.3534 or click here to contact me

Definition of enuresis:

Enuresis is the involuntary discharge of urine by a child age 5 and over. It can be psychologically distressful and a embarrassing for a child, but not physically harmful. Enuresis places a child at risk for name-calling and teasing from peers. This type of behavior can damage a child’s self esteem. The presence of enuresis can place a limit on participation in highly desirable social experiences such as sleepovers and camp. The child may also have to face anger and humiliation from parents who do not understand the nature of this disorder.

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What are Anxiety Disorders?

A group of disorders which involve various manifestations of anxiety that are grouped together nosologically in the DSM. These include panic disorder (also referred as panic attack), specific phobia, formerly simple phobia; social phobia that was formerly called social anxiety disorder; obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); (also categorized as obsession, compulsion, obsessive-compulsive); posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); acute stress disorder; generalized anxiety disorder (GAD); and anxiety disorders secondary to medical conditions or substance-induced.

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Celiac, IBS or Gluten Insensitivity which do you have?

Celiac disease like IBS it’s something we all hear about, something we all wonder if we might have-certainly, those of us with constant digestive problems-but something no one has really defined. A severe intolerance to gluten, the protein found in wheat and other grains, celiac symptoms are wide ranging and can differ greatly from person to person.

But lately research has found people might not have celiac disease at all but still have reactions in their intestines and immune system from gluten sensitivities.

“For the first time, we have scientific evidence that indeed, gluten sensitivity not only exists, but is very different from celiac disease,” says lead author Alessio Fasano, medical director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research.

The most basic negative responses, cramping, bloating and diarrhea-sounds like IBS, right? – can also be extreme in the case of hives, congestion and nausea.

How a reaction to gluten could cause such a wide range of symptoms also remains unproven. I usually recommend that anyone who is experiencing the symptoms above-or really any other stomach distresses look to work with  a nutritionist trained in digestive issues to avoid the slippery slope of suppositions.

You can contact me for a no charge phone consult at (201) 618-3534 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (201) 618-3534 end_of_the_skype_highlighting , email at rob@drrobertg.com or fill out the form below.








Your Kidneys and Your Health: Kidney Function and Chronic Kidney Disease

What Do Your Kidneys Do?

Two bean-shaped organs on either side of your spine, about midway down your torso – your kidneys are amazingly multi-functional. They clean waste products from the blood, maintain blood pressure at proper levels, prompt the production of red blood cells, and keep the body’s electrolyte levels balanced.

They are closely linked to the heart. Blood comes to them through the renal (from the Latin for kidney) arteries straight from the aorta, the biggest artery, which extends along the body’s central axis. The kidneys’ de-oxygenated blood travels back to the heart through the renal veins and the biggest vein, the vena cava.

It’s the kidneys’ sensors that determine how much water is extracted from the blood for elimination in the form of urine, and what the urine’s electrolyte concentration level should be. The kidneys are very sensitive to changing conditions in the body. For instance, dehydration from any cause – heavy exercise, illness, environmental conditions – will prompt the kidneys to retain water, so urine becomes  darker and more concentrated. Higher levels of water will cause the kidneys to remove the excess, as light-colored, diluted urine. The controlling factor is the hormone renin, produced by the kidneys and a vital part of the overall bodily system that controls fluids and blood pressure.

The excess water and waste products filtered from the blood by the kidneys flow from them as urine through two thin tubes (ureters) to the bladder, where it collects before being expelled from the body.

Another vital kidney function is the creation of a hormone called erythropoietin, which prompts the bone marrow to produce red blood cells, the oxygen-transporters of the body. Again, the kidneys have special “monitor” cells that keep track of the bloodstream’s oxygen level. Should the level be too low, the kidneys release erythropoietin to signal the bone marrow to produce more red cells.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) – What are the facts?

  • CKD affects approximately 26 million Americans, with millions more at increased risk.
  • High risk factors include: high blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of kidney disease. Several population groups have a higher than average CKD risk: Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and the elderly.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a cause of CKD. The reverse is also true: CKD can bring on hypertension. The major cause of death for those with CKD is heart disease.
  • CKD is shown by the persistent presence of protein in the urine (proteinuria).
  • The best way to estimate how well the kidneys are functioning is through the glomerular filtration rate (GFR).
  • Early detection is important in keeping CKD from progressing to the point of kidney failure.
  • CKD can be detected by performing three simple tests: urine albumin, serum creatinine, and blood pressure.

Kidney Function And Overall Health

Besides their all-important waste removal functions, your kidneys:

  • Maintain levels of water and necessary elements like potassium, sodium, calcium, and phosphorus in the body
  • Filter out toxins and drugs
  • Keep blood pressure at healthy levels
  • Produce hormones that
    – maintain blood pressure
    – cause the creation of red blood cells
    – maintain bone strength

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Explained

Chronic kidney disease is a general term covering several conditions that cause kidney damage. A damaged kidney is less able to fulfill all the health maintenance tasks discussed above. If the conditions worsens, waste products can accumulate in the blood to dangerous levels. There can be complications: anemia or low red blood-cell count; hypertension; nerve damage; weakened bones; poor ability to absorb nutrients from food.

CKD also contributes to the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The complex of CKD-related effects may come on gradually and slowly over the course of years. Diabetes and hypertension, among other diseases, can bring on CKD.

Early detection and treatment are extremely important; often early treatment can stop CKD in its tracks. But if allowed to progress, CKD can lead to complete failure of the kidneys, meaning that either continuing dialysis or a transplant is needed to save the patient’s life.

Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease

The two most frequent causes are diabetes and high blood pressure. These conditions bring on about two-thirds of CKD. The excessive blood sugar levels of diabetes damage organs and tissues all throughout the body, including the kidneys. With high blood pressure, general physical damage to the blood vessels occurs, also throughout the body. When not properly controlled, high blood pressure puts the patient at severe risk for strokes, heart attacks, and CKD. And, as noted above, CKD itself can lead to high blood pressure.

Some other conditions that impact the kidneys include:

  • Glomerulonephritis, the name for several inflammatory diseases that cause damage to the filtering tissues within the kidneys; they rank third after diabetes and hypertension as causes of CKD.
  • Inherited conditions like polycystic kidney disease, in which the kidneys are affected by the development of large cysts.
  • Abnormalities in the formation of the kidneys during fetal development, such as narrowing of the ducts that allow urine to pass out of the kidney.
  • Lupus and other immune system diseases
  • Kidney stones, prostate enlargement, tumors, etc. that cause obstructions.
  • Recurring urinary infections.

Symptoms of  Chronic Kidney Disease

One of the difficulties with CKD is that you usually don’t have severe symptoms until the condition is at an advanced stage. However, you should be on the alert for:

  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Problems with concentration
  • Reduced appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Nighttime muscle cramping
  • Puffiness around the eyes, particularly in the morning
  • Swelling of ankles and feet
  • Itchy, dry skin
  • Increased need to urinate, especially at night

Chronic Kidney Disease – A Common Illness?

Some facts about the incidence of CKD in the United States:

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that 16.8 percent of adults (i.e., over 20 years of age) in the US have chronic kidney disease. That comes to one in six American adults – obviously a growing health problem. The percentages of the overall adult population with the different disease stages are:
    – stage 1: 3.1%
    – stage 2: 4.1%
    – stage 3: 7.6%
    – stages 4 and 5: 0.5%
  • Over 500,000 people are either receiving kidney dialysis or have had kidney transplants.
  • CKD rates have risen by 16% compared to rates in the previous decade. The contributing factors are the increasing occurence of hypertension, obesity, diabetes mellitus, and the general aging of the population.


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