MPR News with Angela Davis

Surviving the silent killer of kidney disease 

Woman and man pose in separate photos
Jennifer Cramer-Miller (left) has lived with kidney disease since her early 20s. Dr. Naim Issa is a nephrologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Courtesy Jennifer Cramer-Miller and Mayo Clinic

Kidney failure is sometimes called a silent killer, since symptoms aren’t noticeable until they’re life threatening. About one in seven people have chronic kidney disease, or about 15 percent of Americans, and many of them don’t know it.

Treatments for kidney failure have improved — drugs, dialysis and kidney transplants are more successful than they used to be. But more than half of people who start dialysis still die within five years.

MPR News host Angela Davis talks with a doctor about the need for prevention and early treatment, and a Minnesotan who lived through four kidney transplants.

Guests 

  • Dr. Naim Issa is a nephrologist who treats people with kidney disease and kidney transplants at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He’s also an associate professor at Mayo Clinic School of Medicine.

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  • Jennifer Cramer-Miller has lived with kidney disease since her early 20s and has received four kidney transplants, including a kidney from her mother and from a 25-year-old anonymous donor. She serves as board chair of the National Kidney Foundation (serving Minnesota). She’s just out with a new memoir, “Incurable Optimist: Living with Illness and Chronic Hope.”

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Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.   

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