March is National Kidney Month - a good time to raise awareness about the growing prevalence of kidney disease.
Nearly 700,000 people in Washington suffer from kidney disease. In most cases, it's preventable.
In the last 10 years, new cases of kidney disease have skyrocketed, according to Dr. Leanna Tyshler with Northwest Kidney Centers.
"The new cases of kidney disease have increased by 30% over the last 10 years," said Tyshler. "The reason why is we've been facing the epidemic of diabetes and hypertension and obesity and these are the leading causes of kidney failure."
Patients who have kidney failure usually must undergo dialysis three times a week; each treatment lasting several hours. There is no cure for kidney failure, so patients must either spend the rest of their lives on dialysis or be lucky enough to get a transplant.
Doctors urge everyone to know the risk factors and insist on a test. Risk factors include: high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and a family history of the disease.
Asking your doctor for a test is also crucial because this disease often strikes without warning. That's what happened to dialysis patient Mini Cherian.
"I think the most important thing for people to know is that there aren't really any signs, it's a very silent process," said Cherian.
In order to prevent kidney disease, doctors say you need to treat high blood pressure and diabetes, don't smoke, follow a low salt/low-fat diet and don't overuse pain relievers like ibuprofen and naproxen.