Thanks so much for the welcome! :)
I have been referred to a nephrologist, and called yesterday to schedule an appointment, but the earliest they could fit me in is December! They asked me to fax over my medical info and the doctor would review it and if I need to be seen earlier, he will tell them to squeeze me in to the schedule somehow.
I think that my bloodwork has been OK...there's been no hint of kidney problems in lab work as far as I know.
I just found a helpful blog post that explains cortical thinning in a very accessible way:krisandshawn.blogspot.com/2008/04/bilateral-diffuse-cortical-thinning.html
So the basic info I gathered from this site is (I'm pretty sure that most people here know a lot of this stuff but I didn't so I'm going to list it so I can organize it in my head!):
1. The cortex is the part of the kidney that does the work of filtering the blood.
2. Cortical thinning means irreversible kidney damage has occurred, because you've lost tissue that won't come back no matter what changes you make to your lifestyle.
3. There are 5 stages of kidney damage; Stage 1 is mild damage, Stage 5 is kidney failure.
4. The test most often used to diagnose renal insufficiency is creatinine levels in urine. Unfortunately, although that test is cheap and easy enough to do for everyone during their regular exams, creatinine levels don't rise until kidney function has already dropped below about
70% of necessary. Since healthy people have almost twice the renal capacity they need, that means that over 60% of total kidney function is lost before the problem is noticed.
5. There are different causes of this sort of kidney damage (the only one they listed in this post is a genetic vascular problem called FMD, but there are others).
6. You must control your weight, your blood pressure, your protein intake, your cholesterol, and you should exercise...all of these things will help to slow down the atrophy process. Apparently the less you weigh, the less work your kidneys have to do, probably because your total blood volume is reduced....?
It is scary because two of my aunts died from kidney failure and both had lupus.....it runs in my family.
Well, as you say, it's mild, so they caught it early! That's a very good thing!
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