Celebrate Family on World Kidney Day

New York, NY
February 6, 2006

It doesn't quite have the heart-tugging appeal of Mother's or Father’s Day yet, but on World Kidney Day, you may just find yourself closer to your family than ever.

The first-ever World Kidney Day, coming on March 9, 2006, has been designed to raise international awareness about one of the body's most vital organs and to let people know who’s at risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD) and what to do. While no one expects World Kidney Day to be celebrated with parades and picnics, the National Kidney Foundation suggests using it as a time to celebrate family and share health history. Why? Because many, if not most, people who are considered “at-risk” for chronic kidney disease have been placed in that group because of health problems inherited from family members. So finding out your health history is the first step to preventing chronic kidney disease.

The National Kidney Foundation is hoping people will embrace March 9 as a day devoted to talking to, or learning more about, one's parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters; in fact, any blood relatives. People may find out fascinating things about the people close to them, and in the process, they may also find out that someone in the family suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes or even chronic kidney disease itself.

If you or a family member has diabetes or high blood pressure (hypertension), you are at significant risk for CKD. Also, people who belong to minority groups, including African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians or Pacific Islanders, are at higher risk for CKD.

The National Kidney Foundation is joining forces with Kidney Foundations around the globe to highlight World Kidney Day and its theme of early detection and prevention. The foundation says chronic kidney disease is a potentially fatal one, often called a "silent" killer.

The foundation hopes family discussion on World Kidney Day will encourage people to delve into the health of their entire family, and then to get their kidneys checked out through simple blood and urine tests. To find out the foundation’s schedule of free kidney screenings around the country through its KEEP or Kidney Early Evaluation Program, visit www.keeponline.org

So, while World Kidney Day may not get you a vacation day off from work, it could end up adding years to your life!