Due to high rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, blacks and African Americans have an increased risk of developing kidney failure, according to Kidney.org. As a result, Kidney.org also reports African Americans represent more than 35% of all patients in the United States receiving dialysis for kidney failure. When your kidneys fail the treatment is dialysis to remove waste, salt, and extra water to prevent it from building up in the body.
In honor of National Diabetes Month, we caught up with Eboni Gee—a wife, mom, registered nurse, and woman on a mission to help dialysis patients and their families discover a new normal for their lives. As co-founder of Living With a Purpose, a consulting business and wellness platform, she provides wellness workshops and dialysis classes focused on techniques for organizing medication and doctors’ appointments, controlling fluid intakes, and protecting your bones and heart while mentally handling a life-changing diagnosis.
Why did you decide to expand your nursing career into entrepreneurial waters?
Living With a Purpose was born out of an awakening. When I first started working with dialysis patients, I noticed I enjoyed helping people see past where they were at the present moment to where they could be. As time went on, it became clear that dialysis patients and their families needed the individualized education and support to decrease their stress and anxiety while maximizing their ability to advocate for themselves.
What’s a common misconception people have about dialysis treatment?
Many people think their kidney function will return. While this might be the case for someone with an acute kidney failure diagnosis, most end-stage renal disease diagnosis is irreversible.
When it comes to diabetes prevention, how can we take better care of ourselves?
- Practice healthy habits and routines as well as a healthy mindset. Stress creates damage in our bodies and can cause hypertension.
- Exercise and move our bodies on a regular basis.
- Pay attention to what you’re eating. Food portions are two to three times what they should be. Ask for only half the meal to be served or eat half and box up the rest.
What resources are available for patients and their families?
- Our website provides holistic support and solutions.
- Kidney Grub has recipes specifically for people with kidney disease. Of course, everyone still has to follow a diet that works for them.
- The Kidney Connection Podcast covers kidney health and dialysis wellness.