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What You Need to Know About Kidney Disease, Dialysis, and Medicare Coverage

Kidney disease is a serious condition that worsens over time and can lead to death, without proper treatment. The kidneys filter waste out of the body, but when they start to lose function, this can lead to a host of serious symptoms that interfere with everyday life. If you’re not already familiar with the symptoms of kidney disease and how to prevent it, now is the time to learn more.

What Is Kidney Disease?

Kidney disease happens gradually as the kidneys lose their ability to filter out liquid waste effectively. Over time, these liquids can build up in your body, causing a range of dangerous symptoms. Kidney disease usually happens as the result of another health problem, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. It can also occur due to ongoing kidney infections or cysts and inflammation in the kidneys.

When kidney disease starts, you may not have many symptoms, making it very difficult to catch and treat. Kidney disease symptoms can include nausea and vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite, changes in urination patterns, swelling of the lower extremities, and shortness of breath. Over time, kidney disease can cause serious cardiovascular complications, and it can also cause dangerous levels of fluid retention.

How Can You Prevent Kidney Disease?

The best way to prevent kidney disease is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy weight with a nutritious diet and regular exercise is one of the best ways to prevent kidney disease.

You should also avoid smoking and take steps to quit if you have already started. If you take over-the-counter pain medications, you should also be very careful to stick to the recommended dose on the label. Taking too many pain relievers can lead to kidney damage.

If you have any chronic health conditions, work with your doctor to manage them effectively and prevent them from causing kidney disease. You should also talk to your doctor about kidney disease screenings if you are at a higher risk of developing the condition.

Medicare and Kidney Disease

Original Medicare covers a range of different services related to kidney disease. If you are diagnosed with kidney failure, Medicare may cover dialysis supplies, treatments, and training. Medicare also covers up to six sessions of kidney disease education to help you manage the condition effectively at home.

Medicare also covers kidney transplant services should you need one. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you may be covered for supplemental services beyond what Original Medicare provides.

Because of the severity of kidney disease, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms so you can seek appropriate treatment. If you’re interested in learning more about your Medicare options, contact a licensed agent who specializes in Medicare so they can give you information based on your lifestyle, budget, and needs.

What do you know about kidney disease? Do you get preventative screenings to catch early symptoms? Has your doctor been cautious not to disturb your kidneys with harmful medication? What Medicare services have you used for diagnosing or treating kidney disease? Please share your story with the community.

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The Author

Jason Carrasco is the Medicare expert for Time for 65. Jason loves sharing his expertise and knowledge with older adults, loved ones and caregivers who may be new to, or who simply have a difficult time understanding the ins and outs of, Medicare.

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