American Kidney Fund Warns of Kidney Disease Risk Factors During Kidney Awareness Month

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Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of chronic kidney disease, and during National Kidney Awareness Month, the American Kidney Fund is working to ensure that individuals have the information they need to take charge of their kidney health.

"Fight Kidney Disease" ribbon magnet.

It is important for anyone who has been diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure to work with their doctor to develop a plan to keep these conditions under control, because doing so may help to prevent chronic kidney disease

Rockville, MD March 10-- Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of chronic kidney disease, and during National Kidney Awareness Month, the American Kidney Fund is working to ensure that individuals have the information they need to take charge of their kidney health.

The American Kidney Fund's website, kidneyfund.org, is providing visitors with free downloadable brochures and fact sheets relating to chronic kidney disease, a common and often preventable condition that is the nation's ninth leading cause of death. The first 500 visitors who register on kidneyfund.org during March will receive in the mail a free "Fight Kidney Disease" car ribbon magnet.

"More than 70 percent of all cases of chronic kidney disease are caused either by diabetes or by high blood pressure. Many cases of chronic kidney disease could be prevented, but too few people with diabetes and high blood pressure realize they could be at risk," said LaVarne A. Burton, President and CEO of the American Kidney Fund.

"It is important for anyone who has been diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure to work with their doctor to develop a plan to keep these conditions under control, because doing so may help to prevent chronic kidney disease," Burton said.

Thirty-one million Americans are estimated to have chronic kidney disease, which can lead to many complications, including cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, and death.

In addition to having diabetes or high blood pressure, some other risk factors for developing chronic kidney disease include having a family member with the disease; being over age 60; and being a member of an ethnic minority group.

"Anyone who is at risk should ask a doctor about the simple medical tests that can check kidney function, particularly because chronic kidney disease begins with no symptoms," said Burton. The American Kidney Fund recommends individuals request a calculation of their estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a test that can tell how well the kidneys are working.

The American Kidney Fund's website provides downloadable brochures about diabetes and high blood pressure, a fact sheet about eGFR, and nutrition information for people who have chronic kidney disease. In addition, the American Kidney Fund's HelpLine (toll-free 1-866-300-2900) is available to answer questions about kidney health from the public. The HelpLine is available in both English and Spanish.

The mission of the American Kidney Fund is to fight kidney disease through direct, treatment-related financial assistance to kidney patients; health education; and prevention efforts. In 2008, the American Kidney Fund provided $119.5 million in financial assistance to 75,000 kidney patients in the United States who couldn't afford the out-of-pocket costs for insurance premiums, over-the-counter drugs, transportation to and from dialysis, and other costs not covered by insurance. The American Kidney Fund's HelpLine (866-300-2900) answers thousands of questions each year about kidney health. For more information about the American Kidney Fund, visit http://www.kidneyfund.org.

CONTACT: Tenee M. Hawkins, American Kidney Fund Director of Communications, 301-984-6630

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