For Kidney Disease, Early Outreach Works

Participating in a community screening program encourages people to get the lifesaving help they

People who participate in a screening program for kidney disease tend to adopt life-saving behaviors as a result, according to a new report in this month’s issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, the official publication of the National Kidney Foundation. The report was released today at the foundation’s 2008 Spring Clinical Meetings, held here.

“These findings show that efforts to screen people at risk of disease can boost community-wide health,” says Allan J. Collins, MD, the study’s lead author and president of the National Kidney Foundation.

“Once people learn they are at risk or already have kidney disease, high blood pressure, or other deadly diseases, they will go to the doctor, and take the medications they need to survive,” continues Collins. “So if you believe you may be at risk, see your doctor or participate in a community screening program – it will be the first step towards a healthy life.”

The results add to the already long list of findings gleaned from the NKF’s Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP), which screens people with the most common risk factors for kidney disease – diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of kidney failure. Participants receive lab results and educational materials about chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Over the course of CKD, the kidneys become less able to perform vital functions that help maintain overall health, including filtering wastes and excess fluids from the blood. According to the latest estimates, 26 million Americans have CKD.

During the study, researchers reviewed follow-up forms mailed to 72,000 people who participated in KEEP.

Nearly 30% of participants returned the follow-up forms. Among them, 71% said they saw a physician within three months after participating in KEEP. People were more likely to see a physician if they were diagnosed with CKD, and the tendency to follow up with a doctor increased as kidney function declined.

People who were diagnosed with other life-threatening conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or cardiovascular disease were also more likely to pay a visit to their doctors after participating in KEEP.

Among those diagnosed with high blood pressure, 50% started monitoring their blood pressure and taking prescription medication, and nearly 17% adjusted their diets within three months of participating in KEEP.

Among those who learned they had diabetes, 34% adjusted their diets, 40% were taking prescription medication, and 50% were monitoring the levels of glucose in their blood. People diagnosed with anemia were also more likely to be taking prescription medication.

“Simply put, these findings show that community screening programs, such as KEEP do work as a wake-up call to participants,” says Collins.

The National Kidney Foundation is dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation.

Primary Sponsor of KEEP is Amgen, Inc. Associate Sponsors are Abbott Renal Care and Genzyme and KEEP contributing sponsors are Novartis and Ortho Biotech Chronic Care.

For more information on kidney disease or a schedule of free KEEP screenings, visit www.kidney.org

Posted under: Research Studies

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