South Texas Health System and STHS Clinics Highlight the Health Problems Caused by Kidney Disease

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

If you’re like most people, you haven’t given much consideration to your hard-working kidneys, which filter all the blood in your body every 30 minutes to remove waste products, toxins and excess fluid, regulate sodium levels, help control blood pressure and more. But health experts say it’s imperative that you do to protect your kidney health.

Chronic kidney disease, already a leading cause of death in the United States, is on the rise. Currently 37 million Americans are living with the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with approximately 807,000 living with kidney failure.

If the kidneys don’t work well, toxic waste and extra fluid accumulate in the body and may lead to health complications like anemia, gout, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Once chronic kidney disease reaches an advanced state, it can lead to end-stage renal disease, a condition in which a person’s kidneys stop working on a permanent basis, leading to the need for long-term dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.

Sadly, as many as nine in 10 U.S. adults with chronic kidney disease don’t know they have it, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as early-stage kidney disease typically has no symptoms. Most people don’t know they have the disease until it’s in its advanced stages. Meanwhile, about 33% of U.S. adults are at risk of developing kidney disease, according to the National Kidney Foundation, because they have at least one of the key risk factors: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or obesity.

This National Kidney Month, South Texas Health System (STHS) and South Texas Health System Clinics (STHS Clinics) are raising awareness of kidney disease in the four-county region by dedicating the latest episode of their monthly “South Texas Healthy Living” television program to the deadly disease.

Watch More Episodes of "South Texas Healthy Living" 

To watch previous episodes of “South Texas Healthy Living” and the system’s South Texas Health Updates, one minute videos offering education on various health issues, visit South Texas Health System’s Medical Minute page on

Broadcast live on Sunday, March 24 at 11:00 a.m. on KVEO-TV NBC 23, the program will feature an interview with Dr. Ramiro Tovar, III, a family medicine physician with STHS Clinics, who will highlight the risk factors and early warning signs of kidney disease, as well as how the condition is diagnosed and treated.

Additionally, STHS System Director of Marketing and Public Relations and South Texas Healthy Living host Tom Castañeda sits down with a 40-year-old Harlingen man who was given a new lease on life after receiving a kidney transplant in April 2013, nearly two years after a trip to the emergency room with severely swollen feet led to a shocking diagnosis of end-stage renal disease. He opens up about his battle with the disease and shares his advice on protecting your kidneys.

The program will also feature a healthy cooking segment with South Texas Health System McAllen’s director of dietary and nutrition services, an exercise demonstration with South Texas Health System Edinburg Rehabilitation Services staff, and key prevention advice.

“The kidneys play an essential role in our overall health and well-being, acting as our body’s filtration system to keep it in a state of chemical balance. So, it’s important that we protect them at all costs to avoid the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive,” says Castañeda. “From keeping your blood pressure in check and staying in your target cholesterol range to eating well, being physically active and taking your medications as directed, there are simple steps you can take to protect your kidneys and prioritize your overall health. Through our ‘South Texas Healthy Living’ program, we’re hoping to inspire the people of the Rio Grande Valley and beyond to get healthy and stay healthy!”

If you or someone you love is at risk of kidney disease, don’t miss the latest episode of “South Texas Healthy Living” on Sunday, March 24 at 11:00 a.m. on KVEO-TV NBC 23.