Black Health 365 Banners

My husband has high BP, but no diabetes. He drinks liquor, but it’s times when he drinks about 50oz of water and Gatorade and won’t be able to pass urine for about 5-6 hours. Those are signs of kidney disease, correct?

Thank you for your question. High blood pressure is a leading cause of kidney disease and this is a risk factor for kidney disease in your husband. Also drinking an excessive amount of alcohol is a risk factor for developing high blood pressure (known as hypertension) and consequently kidney disease.

Drinking water is good for kidney health but drinking excessive amounts of Gatorade and sugary drinks are not healthy. If your husband is having difficulty voiding, passing his urine/emptying his bladder, this may be a sign that your husband may be experiencing bladder outlet obstruction from an enlarged prostate, which is called BPH, benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Prostate cancer can also cause men to have difficulty emptying their bladders. While I am in no way indicating  that your husband has prostate cancer, he should be evaluated by a urologist to determine the causes of his urination difficulties.

It is my believe that “Every Man Needs A Urologist, In Addition To A Primary Care Doctor”. Urologists are physicians and surgeons who are specifically trained to address medical issues and concerns in men. Please schedule your husband to have a consultation with a urologist and have your husband get a PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test which is a screening test for prostate cancer.

Can you reverse damage done to a kidney?

There are certain instances when acute kidney disease (known as acute kidney insufficiency) can be reversed. However, kidney disease resulting from diabetes and/or high blood pressure is usually a slowly progressive disease that cannot be reversed.

However, the progression of kidney disease can be slowed down so that not all cases of kidney disease will progress to advanced kidney disease or kidney failure.

Careful control of blood pressure and blood sugar (diabetes) can halt the progression of kidney disease. There are urological conditions, such as bladder outlet obstruction caused by an enlarged prostate, kidney stones and urinary tract infections that can contribute to the onset of acute kidney disease. If these conditions are diagnosed and treated early then the kidney disease can be reversed.

My mother and her mother were both dialysis patients prior to death. Is kidney disease hereditary? 

There are instances where kidney disease can be hereditary; however, the vast majority of cases do not represent hereditary kidney disease. However, high blood pressure and diabetes can be hereditary conditions that predispose patients to developing kidney disease.

It is important for us to be aware of what are our own personal family medical histories so that we will know which diseases and conditions are more prevalent in our families which are more likely to also afflict us.

Does kidney disease stem from not drinking a lot of water to cleanse out the kidneys?

Significant and severe dehydration can definitely contribute to people developing kidney disease. It is important that we remain well-hydrated to help us remain our kidney health. The general rule of thumb is that we should drink water to hydrate and not sugary drinks and that we should drink to thirst.

We should routinely check our weight and monitor our general urine volume and if we note that we are developing retention of fluid in our lower extremities (legs) and that the amount of urine we are making is decreasing that this may be a sign of kidney disease and evaluation by our primary care doctor and/or urologist is indicated.

My kidneys are at 40% How can I improve their function?

The main thing you must do since your kidney function is reduced is to maintain strict control of your blood pressure, blood sugar, weight and cholesterol and lipid blood levels. These steps can help reduce the rate of deterioration of your kidney function.

In addition, I would recommend that you seek referral to a kidney transplant center for a pre-kidney transplant evaluation to determine if kidney transplantation is an option for you. I am happy to speak directly with you regarding matters related to kidney transplantation. You can call my office 216-445-7550 and/or email for further discussions:

After you have the kidney transplant do you take medication?

Following kidney transplantation, patients are required to take anti-rejection (immunosuppression) medications for life in the overwhelming majority of situations.

Additionally, patients must generally take antibiotics, antiviral and anti-fungal medications and many patients will need to take blood pressure medications and diabetes medications if they have diabetes.

It is critically important that patients following kidney transplant do comply and take all of the medications they are proscribed and at proper times. This is important to prevent rejection and infections and necessary to maintain the health and survival of the kidney transplant.

I have never heard anything to keep a kidney healthy or cure a kidney that is starting to show signs of high creatinine. What helps?

he creatinine level is a blood test that doctors measure to assess a patient’s level of kidney function. There are other variables, such as one’s state of hydration and body mass and even one’s race that can influence one’s creatinine level.

If a person has an elevated creatinine and is evaluated by a physician and determined to have kidney disease, the rate of deterioration of one’s kidney function can be significantly slowed down by tight control of one’s blood pressure and control of their diabetes and cholesterol and control of one’s weight.

I have Polycystic Kidney Disease. I am 53 years old. I am on 3 blood pressure medications. I am not having any problems, I live a good full normal life. My nephrologist just told me about a new drug Jynarque. Is this drug worth taking?

A recent study of this new medication called Jynarque did indicate that in patients with kidney disease (stages 1-3) as a result of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease the rate of deterioration of kidney function can be slowed compared to that seen in patients not taking this medication.

This medication is “the first and only medication that is FDA approved treatment to slow kidney function decline in adults who are at risk for rapidly progressing autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD).

Before you take any new medications or embark upon any new treatment plan(s), it is critically important that you speak with your personal physician, in your case your nephrologist who is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease, to make sure you fully understand he risks and benefits of such treatment recommendations.

Also, I always advise patients and their families that every patient has the right to seek second and even additional opinions from additional doctors to ensure that they make the best informed decisions.

Can taking too many supplements with good intentions be over tasking to the kidneys?

Yes, taking too many supplements with good intentions can in fact potentially damage and be deleterious not only to our kidneys but to our other organ systems. Often times, what is actually contained in many of these supplements is not fully known. It is always advisable to consult with your physician and/or pharmacist prior to starting any supplements.

Can the keto diet cause damage to your kidney? If so, how can it be done and keep kidneys safe?

The keto diet is a diet that is low carbohydrate diet and ingesting a diet low in carbohydrates can actually be beneficial to kidney health. High carbohydrates in the diet can contribute to kidney disease. Prior to undertaking any new diet, I recommend that you seek advice from your primary care physician and nutritionist.

It is important that on any diet that you maintain your electrolytes by also ingesting vegetables. For patients already afflicted with kidney disease I stress even more that it is extremely important for you to seek medical advice prior to undertaking any new diet.

I’ve been diagnosed with MGUS – does this eliminate me from receiving a kidney transplant?

MGUS is Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance. There is research of the outcomes of patients with MGUS who have had kidney transplantation and that research has suggested that kidney transplant remains an option and appears safe for patients with MGUS.

Again, it is very important that patients follow up very closely with their kidney transplant and primary care physicians and nephrologists following kidney transplantation to detect the early presence of any complications that might potentially occur following kidney transplantation.

Are people with lupus eligible for kidney transplants?

Yes, people with Lupus are definitely candidates to receive a kidney transplant. However, kidney transplant centers will not transplant patients who are experiencing active flare-ups of lupus because lupus that is clinically active is more likely to put the new kidney transplant at risk for reoccurrence of the lupus in the transplant kidney, which can cause the kidney to fail.

Patients with Lupus should seek kidney transplantation evaluation, as the transplant evaluation process can take a considerable amount of time. During the evaluation process the transplant team will advise the patient of when kidney transplant will be most appropriate for them—which would be at a time point during which their Lupus is not active.


Dr. Charles Modlin welcomes anyone to contact him at:

Dr. Charles Modlin Email:

Office Phone:  216-445-7550

Twitter:  @MMHCenter



Dr. Charles Modlin, M.D., MBA, is a Kidney Transplant Surgeon & Urologist, Executive Director Minority Health and Cleveland Clinic Physician Lead for Public Health.

He founded & directs Cleveland Clinic’s Minority Men’s Health Center (MMHC) and in 2003, established Cleveland Clinic’s Annual Minority Men’s Health Fair. In, 2011 he was named by The Atlanta Post as one of the Top 21 Black Doctors in America.

Modlin graduated from Northwestern University and Northwestern University Medical School, completed a six-year residency in Urology at New York University, a three-year fellowship in kidney transplantation surgery at Cleveland Clinic and joined the Cleveland Clinic Staff in 1996. 




« Previous page 1 2 3 4