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Focus on Kidney Health

March is Kidney Health Month!

 

Click here for Your Kidney Health ToolKit

Spread the Word about Kidney Health this March!

March is Kidney Health Month—a great opportunity to Pair Up with the American Kidney Fund and learn about your risk for kidney disease and take steps to prevent it! Kidney disease is the ninth-leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting as many as 31 million people. Nine out of 10 people with early kidney disease don’t know they have it, though, since it often has no symptoms until it is very far along. The only way to know how well your kidneys are working is to get tested. Kidney problems that are caught early can be managed. Kidney problems that are left untreated may lead to progressive and permanent damage (chronic kidney disease, or CKD) or even kidney failure. Most cases of kidney disease could be prevented, though, which is why it’s important to know your risk and spread the word. For more information about kidney health, visit:  http://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-health/

Here are 10 ways to celebrate National Kidney Month with the American Kidney Fund:

  1. Download or order a free kidney health toolkit to learn about kidney disease and teach others in your congregation about reducing their risk.  
  2. Keep tabs on your kidneys and learn what your lab results mean. To download our free Kidney Health Tracker, click here.
  3.  Honor someone you love who is fighting kidney disease! Post a photo to honor a Champion in the Fight (patient, social worker, doctor, family member or friend) on AKF’s Facebook page.
  4. Learn what may be putting you at risk for kidney disease and how you can get tested. Find out more here.
  5.  Make a gift to the American Kidney Fund in honor of someone you love. Ninety-seven cents of every dollar AKF spends goes toward programs and services. Please give.
  6. Sign up for the AKF Advocacy Network.
  7. Order a “Fight Kidney Disease” ribbon magnet for your car.
  8. Tell a friend about AKF today. Check out some of our accomplishments here.
  9. Share AKF’s Facebook page with your friends.
  10. Join the fight to prevent kidney disease and become part of the AKF Pair Up campaign.

The American Kidney Fund fights kidney disease through direct financial support to patients in need, health education and prevention efforts. It leads the nation in charitable assistance to dialysis patients. Last year, nearly 84,000 people—1 out of every 5 U.S. dialysis patients—received assistance from the American Kidney Fund for health insurance premiums and other treatment-related expenses. The American Kidney Fund reaches millions of people annually through its national campaign, Pair Up: Join the Fight to Prevent Kidney Disease; free kidney health screenings; health education materials and courses; online outreach; and a toll-free health information HelpLine (866-300-2900). For more information, visit www.kidneyfund.org.


The National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Partners with the
American Kidney Fund on the ‘Pair Up’ Campaign

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The National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. is proud to be a partner in the American Kidney Fund’s new campaign, Pair Up: Join the Fight to Prevent Kidney Disease. Pair Up empowers women to protect themselves, and the people they love, from kidney disease. The call to action is simple: Learn if you are at risk for kidney disease, and spread the word about kidney disease to loved ones who may also be at risk.
Kidney disease is an increasingly common condition that is damaging the health of as many as 31 million Americans. Millions more are at risk. Kidney disease is most often caused by diabetes or high blood pressure, and can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and death. Nine out of 10 people with early kidney disease don’t know they have it. It has few warning signs in the early stages. Most cases of kidney disease could be prevented.   

How to Get Involved with Pair Up

Visit
PairUpNow.org and:

  •  Learn about simple, healthy habits that may help you reduce your risk for kidney disease
  •  Get more information about the common conditions that can put you at risk for kidney disease-- and find out how to get tested if you are at risk
  • Take the Pair Up Challenge to learn about common risk factors for kidney disease and to spread the word to a friend or loved one
  • Send an eCard to a friend or loved one who may be at risk for kidney disease
  • Find local Kidney Action Day events where you can have a free kidney health screening, participate in a walkathon and kick-start your commitment to making small, healthy changes that can make a big difference
  • Give to support the cause
  • Shop for Pair Up gear that shows you’re committed to the fight against kidney disease


About the American Kidney Fund

The American Kidney Fund (www.kidneyfund.org) fights kidney disease through direct financial support to patients in need, health education and prevention efforts. It leads the nation in charitable assistance to dialysis patients. Nearly 1 out of every 4 U.S. dialysis patients receives assistance from the American Kidney Fund for health insurance premiums and other treatment-related expenses. The American Kidney Fund reaches millions of people annually through its national campaign, Pair Up: Join the Fight to Prevent Kidney Disease; free kidney health screenings; health education materials and courses; online outreach, and a toll-free health information HelpLine (866-300-2900).

For More Information

For more information about the American Kidney Fund and the Pair Up campaign, call the American Kidney Fund toll-free at 866-300-2900.


Facts about Kidney Disease in the
United States

Source:  American Kidney Fund

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Kidney disease is a common, but preventable condition that is damaging the health of as many as 31 million Americans.  Because kidney disease has few warning signs in the early stages, nine out of 10 people with early kidney disease don’t know they have it.

Kidney disease is most often caused by diabetes and high blood pressure, and it can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and death.  Managing diabetes and high blood pressure can help to prevent kidney disease.  Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through simple steps, like being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and getting tested for kidney disease, can also help.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.What do the kidneys do?
Your kidneys clean waste and extra fluid from your blood.  This makes up your urine.  They also do many other jobs that you need in order to live.  Your kidneys help to:

  • Control chemicals in your body
  • Control your blood pressure
  • Keep your bones healthy
  • Make red blood cells

2.What is kidney disease?
Kidney disease is lasting damage to the kidneys that can get worse over time.  If the damage is very bad, your kidneys may stop working.  If this happens, you will need dialysis or a transplant in order to live.

3.What causes kidney disease?
Kidney disease can be caused by many things.  The most common causes of kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure.  Some infections, inherited diseases and injuries can also cause kidney disease.

4.Who is at risk for kidney disease?
Anyone can develop kidney disease, but some people are more at risk.  You may be at risk if you:

  • Have diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have a family member with kidney disease
  • Are African American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander or Native American
  • Are over 60 years old
  • Have heart disease

5.What are the signs of kidney disease?
Kidney disease often has no symptoms.  Testing is the only way to know how well your kidneys are working.  If you’re at risk, ask your doctor about the following tests:

eGFR (estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate)

  • This test tells your doctor how well your kidneys clean your blood.
  • Your doctor tests your blood for a kind o f waste called creatinine.  Healthy kidneys filter creatinine out of your blood.  Your doctor will then use your creatinine test result to figure out your eGFR.
  • An eGFR less than 60 for three months or more may be a sign of kidney disease.

Urine Test

  • This test tells your doctor if there is protein or blood in your urine.
  • Your doctor may test your urine in the office or ask you to collect your urine at home.
  • Protein (called albumin) or blood in your urine may be a sign of kidney disease.

Blood Pressure

  • This test tells your doctor how hard your heart is working to pump your blood.
  • High blood pressure can cause kidney disease, but kidney disease can also cause you to have high blood pressure.
  • For most people, a normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 (120 over 80).  Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be.

6.What can I do to prevent kidney disease?
To help keep your kidneys healthy:

  • Talk to your doctor about your risk for kidney disease
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet (low in salt and fat)
  • Exercise most days of the week to keep a healthy weight
  • See your doctor at least once a year
  • Treat high blood pressure and diabetes if you have them

7.What if I already have kidney disease?

  • If your doctor tells you that you have kidney disease:
  • Keep your blood pressure less than 130/80
  • Control your blood sugar if you have diabetes
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet (low in salt and fat) and ask your doctor for more diet information
  • Exercise most days of the week to keep a healthy weight
  • Do not smoke or use tobacco
  • Ask your doctor about medicines that might help

If you find and treat kidney disease early, you may be able to slow it down!

8.Where can I get more information?
To learn more about kidney disease and how to keep your kidneys healthy, please visit the American Kidney Fund at KidneyFund.org, or call our toll-free HelpLine at 866.300.2900.

What Can I Do to Help?

You can:

  • Set up a Kidney Health Sunday at your church, with activities to raise awareness about kidney disease and its risk factors
  • Use the American Kidney Fund’s Learn it! Check it! Live it! Toolkit to educate those in your community about kidney disease
  • Conduct risk factor screenings, such as blood pressure checks, and encourage those at risk to seek further testing
  • Contribute to support the American Kidney Fund in the fight against kidney disease
  • Join the American Kidney Fund’s Advocacy Network to help make a difference for kidney patients

For more information, go to KidneyFund.org.