Nearly 26 million Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition that impairs the kidneys’ ability to properly function. Two-thirds of cases are caused by diabetes or high blood pressure, and may go largely undetected until the disease advances. Once the disease progresses kidney failure is likely to occur, resulting in the need for dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant.
Many are unaware of the critical role kidneys play in maintaining overall well-being. These two organs, each about the size of a fist, are responsible for filtering nearly 200 quarts of blood each day. Waste products, toxins and excess fluids are removed from the blood and excreted from the body. Kidneys work to maintain a balance of chemicals and hormones in the body, and also control the production of red blood cells. Those who suffer from kidney failure rely on dialysis treatments as a substitute for the normal functions of the kidney.
The number of local patients requiring dialysis treatments continues to grow at a rate that significantly outpaces the national average. In 2008, there was a 16 percent increase in the local dialysis patient population in the Mohawk Valley compared to a national increase of 3 percent.
Our Dialysis program at Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) is the sole provider of dialysis treatment within 25 miles to the east and west, and nearly 75 miles to the north and south. Each year, nearly 400 patients from seven counties receive more than 64,000 dialysis treatments at one of seven facilities located throughout the Mohawk Valley. MVHS is one of the largest hospital-based dialysis programs in the country and is growing to address the unmet needs of the local population.