For most people, a Starbucks addiction leads to little more than a smaller wallet and an ever present latte. But for one woman in Tacoma, Washington it led to much more. It led to a kidney.
Sandi Andersen, a Starbucks barista, immediately had herself tested upon learning that a favorite customer needed a transplant. Against the odds, she matched and offered the organ to the grateful patron as readily as if it were a shot of espresso. She saved her life.
Unfortunately, people like Sandi are few and far between. Most of us can’t rely on our baristas for more than a steaming cup of sweet, sweet caffeine (for which we are eternally grateful), so it’s up to us to maintain kidney health. And we do that with information.
Kidney failure occurs when your kidneys stop functioning and you are unable to live without dialysis or a kidney transplant. It can result from an injury, major blood loss or a given medication, but is most often caused by diabetes or hypertension. Therefore, taking the steps to prevent these conditions – exercising regularly and maintaining a balanced diet – is a key part of protecting your kidneys. But so is regular screening. More than 500 million individuals worldwide have some sort of kidney damage. Having your doctor, particularly if you are at risk, run the necessary tests could catch a problem early and enable you to keep a small problem small.