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Ernest Borgnine’s Kidney Failure Battle

Monday, 09 July 2012 01:15 PM

Before Academy Award-winner Ernest Borgnine died of kidney failure on Sunday, he enjoyed remarkably good health for almost all of his 95 years.
Although kidney disease is relatively widespread, not many people realize it is one of the country’s top killers. Currently, there are nearly 4 million Americans living with the condition, the Centers for Disease Control estimates. About 49,000 Americans will die from kidney failure this year, making it the ninth most-common cause of death.
People with kidney failure have difficulty filtering poisonous waste from their blood. There are two types of kidney failure: chronic and acute. People can live for years with chronic kidney failure, and it is only when their condition deteriorates that they require a kidney transplant or dialysis, a mechanical process that filters the blood.
Borgnine appears to have been stricken with acute kidney failure, which can quickly progress. His publicist said that the legendary actor checked into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles last Tuesday for what was supposed to be a routine exam. But Borgnine never left the hospital.
Chronic kidney failure often accompanies other diseases such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Sudden (acute) kidney failure can occur from a variety of causes, including dehydration, a serious infection called sepsis, a narrowing of the blood vessels, or a sudden blockage that stops urine from flowing out of the kidneys.
Born in Hamden, Conn., Borgnine appeared in more than 200 movies. His roles ranged his Oscar-winning performance as the gentle butcher in “Marty” to tough guys like Fatso Judson, the brutal sergeant in the 1953 classic "From Here to Eternity.” His TV role as the captain of “McHale’s Navy” engraved him in the minds of baby boomers.
Except for minor eye problems, Borgnine seemed to escape the type of health problems that befall many elderly people. At 91, he became a spokesperson for the National Eye Institute, starring in a video to alert others to the danger of macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in those over 60.
Borgnine had cataract surgery, and afterward he was diagnosed with a mild case of macular degeneration. The star said vitamin supplements helped him stop the condition from progressing. “I can still read scripts without glasses, if the light is good,” Borgnine said proudly.
In an interview he gave on his 90th birthday, Borgnine attributed his longevity to his work, saying, “Every time I step in front of a camera I feel young again. I really do.”
His last film, “The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vincent Fernandez,” was released this year and won him an acting achievement award at the Newport Beach Film Festival.
In the film Borgnine plays an old man who is bitter about never having achieved fame, and whose life has no meaning, a role that could not have been further from Borgnine’s own experience. He was known for his love of his fans and the Associated Press quoted an interview he gave in which he said that his only concession to age at the age of 88 was that he had to give up driving a bus that he used to crisscross the country while greeting fans.

In fact, the actor remained so healthy in his later years, that he said that he expected to live well past 100. Part of his longevity secret, he said, was staying busy while not overwhelming himself with work.
In his autobiography, written at age 91, Borgnine said: “I am very proud of my age. I always feel if you do things, don't rush it; you'll be surprised how long you can last. I expect to make it to 113.”

© HealthDay

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Ernest Borgnine's kidney failure killed him quickly at age 95 after a long life of good health.
Monday, 09 July 2012 01:15 PM
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