What are kidneys?

The kidneys are bean-shaped organs located on either side of the spine, at the small of the back. Most people have two working kidneys. Your kidneys are two of the most important, yet often overlooked, organs in your body. They perform vital functions, which include:

  • Filtering the blood, keeping some compounds and removing others
  • Removing waste and excess fluid
  • Regulating blood pressure, blood cells and the amount of certain nutrients in the body

What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?
Chronic kidney disease includes conditions that damage kidneys and decrease their function. As kidney disease progresses, wastes build to high levels in the blood. Complications like high blood pressure, anemia (low blood count), weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage may develop. Kidney disease also increases the risk of heart and blood vessel diseases. Early detection and treatment can keep chronic kidney disease from progressing. As kidney disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidney failure. Available treatments are dialysis and kidney transplant.

Kidney Transplantation in Tennessee

  • There are four (4) transplant centers in the Nashville area:
    • Centennial Medical Center
    • St. Thomas Hospital
    • Vanderbilt University Medical Center
    • Veterans Affairs Medical Center – Nashville
  • 373 kidney transplants have been performed in Tennessee in 2016
  • Of those, 70 were living kidney donations
  • 207 men and 166 women have received kidney transplants in Tennessee in 2016
  • 34.5% of transplant recipients are ages 50-64
  • 46.1% of transplant recipients in Tennessee are Caucasian and 48.7% of are African-American
  • More than 2,651 Tennesseans need a kidney transplant out of 3,057 total individuals waiting for transplants – that means kidneys represent almost 87% of all organs needed for transplant!

Chronic Kidney Disease in Tennessee

  • More than 500,000 Tennesseans are at-risk for chronic kidney disease and more than 26 million Americans are at risk
  • 9,600 people in Tennessee have end stage renal disease (kidney failure) and need dialysis to stay alive, including more than 4,450 in the 40 county Middle Tennessee area
  • Early detection can prevent the progression of kidney disease
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes are the two leading causes of chronic kidney disease