In February 2014 I took a life insurance test. I failed. For whatever reason there was excess protein in my urine (proteinuria). Initially I wrote it off as nothing important since I was an athlete and from what I had read on the internet, it is somewhat common to have protein in urine from time to time. However, in April 2014 I decided to follow up with a second urinalysis to validate my suspicions. I failed again.
Worry Sets In
At this point I had knew I had a problem. My primary care doctor referred me to a Nephrologist (Kidney Specialist) to help determine what was causing my problem and to monitor my kidney function. In the meantime I scoured the internet for ways to improve kidney function. There weren’t many. Kidneys are fragile, with about 1 million nephrons that when damaged tend not to be repaired easily. I decided to do a liver detox and switch to a low protein diet, which was difficult coming from a high protein paleo diet. Unbeknownst to me, the low protein diet would accelerate my illness. It was at this point that I began experiencing swelling and tingling sensations in my left forearm and left foot.
My visit to the nephrologist was nerve wracking. My blood pressure was over 140/90! I had been used to 110/70 since I was a very healthy active person. He asked me about why I was here and told me that I was in the lowest range of people that he treated and that he was not worried about my kidneys. He ordered several blood tests and a 24 hour urine collection to determine my glomerular filtration rate (test for kidney function). What he didn’t answer for me was a burning question. Why are my kidneys not functioning correctly? I’m a 32 year old relatively healthy guy! Only old people see nephrologists! There were no answers. Just tests.
Unfortunately this was just the beginning. Mercury would play a role in a disastrous visit with a traditional MD.