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My name is Bismah Irfan, creator of Kidney Health MD, and this is my story.

I remember the first day of my career like it was yesterday. The night before, I couldn’t sleep a wink. I was full of excitement after years of studying, attending class, and endless late nights preparing for exams. I was finally at the start of a journey that would change my life forever, and change the lives of my patients.

My training started in New York, where I would be training as a kidney disease specialist. Life gave me another blessing, the birth of my daughter. Like any new parent, I was obsessed with my daughter, and my husband and I fell in love with her the very first moment we saw her. Shortly after, I returned to work, and things took a turn for the worst…

I was working non-stop, helping patients, diagnosing kidney conditions, and prescribing meds, all while trying to raise my young daughter at home. I was at the end of my rope, and it was affecting my health, even if I didn’t know it yet…

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“I couldn’t walk. When my feet touched the floor, I felt shooting pains throughout my body. I knew immediately something was wrong.”

This was my experience one night when my daughter woke me in the middle of the night. My husband was on call that night and I was all alone, stuck in a terrifying nightmare which was all too real. Hearing the sounds of my daughter’s constant crying, I fought to get to her. I soon managed to drag my feet, while holding onto the walls for the support, painstakingly I made it into her room. The nightmare became worse when I realized that I was unable to turn the doorknob because the piercing pain moved into my wrists as well. I remember struggling to pick up my sweet baby girl. 

Over the next few days, the joint pains got increasingly more intense as well as more frequent. I didn’t know what was happening, I felt like my life was coming to an end. I had system overload, I was overwhelmed, deeply fatigued, and I did all I could to tap into what little energy I had left.

“Something isn’t right—I need to get lab work done.”

The lab results came in: Rheumatoid arthritis. This is an autoimmune condition where the body’s own cells start destroying the joints. It’s annoying at best, incredibly painful at worse and I was closer to the worse end of the spectrum at the time. After meeting with a renowned Rheumatologist, I had some answers but many new questions. It didn’t help that I knew all too well the effects of advanced rheumatoid arthritis. Worse, as a physician myself, I knew the side effects of the powerful medications and I couldn’t see myself taking them. 

I sought a different solution. I wanted to find a more natural, holistic approach. So, I did what most of you have probably done (and maybe how you found my page), I consulted Dr. Google. I started reading about the physiology of my disease, trying to understand the root cause and focusing on that rather than simply treating my symptoms by suppressing my immune system with medications.

“After a few weeks of searching, I stumbled upon nutrition websites and started reading about foods that can help to heal from within, decrease inflammation, and help regulate the immune system.”

That is when I had my lightbulb moment. I realized the answers to many of my burning questions were in nutrition. It might be hard to believe, but many medical students know very little about nutrition. We’re trained to treat symptoms using pharmaceuticals instead of addressing the root cause of chronic disease. Medical schools rarely provide any real education based on nutrition-related treatments. 

In fact, a 2010 survey, it was revealed that only 25% of medical schools in the United States actually require their students to take a nutrition course as part of their required medical curriculum, which resulted in an average of fewer than 20 total hours of nutrition education, vs more than 10,000 hours of medical and clinical education. On top of that, less than 30% of the schools even met the minimum nutrition education requirement of 25 hours, a standard which was set by the National Academy of Sciences.

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“My vision changed – what started with finding answers and options for myself now turned into a passion to help my patients with kidney disease and hypertension.”

And thus, Kidney Health MD was born. I knew I wasn’t the only person struggling with these issues. There is a severe lack of a Holistic approach for people suffering from kidney disease and other autoimmune disorders. I became board certified in Lifestyle Medicine, Functional Medicine, Plant-based nutrition and now working towards Culinary Medicine.

I launched Kidney Health MD to help people in similar situations take control of their health and find relief through proper nutrition, holistic natural treatment methods. I believe in viewing the person as a whole, rather than having a tunneled vision and focusing on just one organ. I have seen transformational changes in myself, my family members, and my patients who agreed to believe in me. And with step-by-step guidance, my patients were able to reverse their hypertension, kidney disease, and above all they were full of energy and vitality. I want to help you do the same. If you’re ready to get started, learn more about this program on our program page.