Learn About Chronic Kidney Disease, Hyperkalemia and Why it is Important to Speak with Your Doctor to Understand if You’re at Risk

An estimated 37 million American adults are affected by chronic kidney disease (CKD), the gradual loss of kidney function over time. Healthy kidneys filter about a half-cup of blood every minute, and help maintain a healthy balance of water, salts and minerals such as potassium in the blood.

Potassium is a mineral that is needed to keep your muscles and heart working. For those with CKD, having too much potassium in your blood can cause serious health issues if not addressed properly. Hyperkalemia (HK), also known as high potassium, is a condition that occurs when potassium levels are higher than normal. People living with CKD have an increased risk of HK because their kidneys aren’t working well enough to remove the excess potassium from the blood.


  • Since symptoms usually don’t appear until it’s advanced, up to 9 in 10 adults with CKD don’t know they have it.
  • Early action can slow or possibly prevent the progression of kidney disease.
  • It is important to speak to your doctor about how to manage and treat CKD to help slow disease progression and how to manage and treat HK.
  • Up to 40-50% of patients with CKD have HK.

This March, which is also National Kidney Month, Dr. Jessica Coleman talked more in depth about CKD and HK – from what these conditions are to the importance of speaking with your doctor to understand if you’re at risk. David Rush discussed his personal experience and journey living with CKD.

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Dr. Coleman is a private practice nephrologist based in the Low Country of Georgia and South Carolina, in the Beaufort, Hilton Head, and Savannah areas. She graduated with honors from Georgia Tech in Biochemistry and worked as a chemical engineer prior to attending medical school at Mercer University in Macon, GA. She did her residency, fellowship and chief fellow year at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY. She has been a keynote speaker at American Society of Nephrology (ASN) and has traveled nationally to speak. She has special interests in hyperkalemia, anemia, and in helping patients live better with CKD. She is board certified in Internal Medicine and Nephrology.

David Rush is a producer, recording artist, and longtime CKD Patient. 16 years into his CKD journey—David, now a father of two, is also a motivational speaker and active advocate for kidney health, who shares with others how he is living his life to the fullest despite his long battle with kidney failure. David was diagnosed with late stage 3 kidney failure at 24 years old and began dialysis in March 2007. He had a kidney transplant, which was graciously donated by his own brother. David hopes to inspire others by sharing his journey and has recently joined forces with AstraZeneca’s Unfiltered Kidney Conversations, which aims to raise disease awareness and share stories of patients living with CKD.

Interview Provided by: AstraZeneca