From healthy kidneys, to diseased ones, to cysts, gangrene, stroke and heart disease… there’s no shortage of reasons to be concerned about your kidneys.
“Kidney disease is the third leading cause of death in the UK, and third biggest killer of people in the 50-64 age group,” says Professor Peter Simpson, an honorary professor of nephrology at Queen Mary University of London and Medical Research Council Researcher.
Kurt Maud, 57, is one of the lucky ones. “I didn’t know I had it,” says the former firefighter, from Malmesbury, Wiltshire. “I didn’t even notice the effects of kidney stones until it caused me to get very tired and as the pressure built up on my lungs, I knew I had to go to hospital.”
While Maud was still at work on the nightshift, a surgeon removed a kidney stone – and it was discovered that he had a chronic form of hypertension, called non-catabolic high blood pressure (NCHBP). After a four-year course of medication to control it, the kidney was spared. “I have a lot to be thankful for,” he says.