During the month of March, The National Kidney Foundation puts forth its efforts towards raising awareness around the importance of kidney health.
Kidney disease is particularly significant to me because several of my family members have suffered from kidney disease. According to the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), one in three Americans is at risk for kidney disease due to diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of kidney failure.
Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States and affects in excess of 30 million Americans. More than 590,000 people in this country are currently experiencing kidney failure while over 95,000 are awaiting kidney transplants.
Consider that, each day, your kidneys are tasked with the job of filtering out waste from 200 liters of blood. Kidneys also regulate the body’s salt, potassium, and acid levels; process drugs out of the body; balance bodily fluids; release blood-pressure regulating hormones; produce an active form of vitamin D; and, control the production of red blood cells.
And you thought you had a lot of responsibility!
The National Kidney Foundation encourages all of us to become aware of the importance of our kidneys and to implement steps intrinsic to good kidney health. To help you along in this process, they offer the following:
- Free screenings for people who are most at risk for kidney disease, including those with diabetes, high blood pressure, or who have a family history of kidney failure.
- “Are You at Risk” Kidney Quiz for better early detection.
Inclusion and Kidney Disease
Did you know that Black Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and other minorities are at the highest risk for kidney disease and kidney failure? Black Americans are three times more likely and Hispanics are 1½ times more likely to experience kidney failure, compared to White Americans.
Researchers do not fully understand why minorities are at a higher risk for kidney disease. However, we do know that minorities have much higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, all of which increase the risk for kidney disease. Access to healthcare may also play a role.
This month, or any month, learn more about Kidney Disease Prevention. Awareness and education is so, so important.