National Kidney Foundation Applauds Government Recognition of Chronic Kidney Disease as a Major Public Health Problem

New York, NY
February 6, 2006

NEW YORK - The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) Board of Directors applauds recent federal government action establishing and funding a chronic kidney disease program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The program was included in the appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services passed by Congress late last year and signed into law by President Bush on December 30th, 2005.

The program will be part of CDC’s Chronic Disease Control Program that implements surveillance and prevention programs on the federal and state level. Much of the effort will be channeled through state health departments. Chronic kidney disease will now be a part of CDC’s responsibility to monitor and combat major public health threats to the American people.

NKF Chairman, Charles B. Fruit told the Board, “This is another recognition on the part of our federal government that chronic kidney disease is a major problem and a major multiplier of health care risk and cost. One in nine Americans has kidney disease and most don’t know it. Now, NKF has a new partner in our mission of alerting Americans to this threat.”

Fruit added, “The CDC is well known for implementing quality programs that help the public, physicians and other health care providers learn about public health problems and take action to fight them.”

The National Kidney Foundation established the goal of seeking this CDC program over two years ago. It has worked since then to alert the Congress and CDC itself on the real but underestimated known threats caused by kidney disease. NKF estimates that 20,000,000 Americans have chronic kidney disease. It is a major factor in the health outcomes of patients with diabetes, high blood pressure and a significant risk factor for cardiovascular related death.

The medical issues were discussed with the Board by NKF President, David Warnock, MD, who said, “Americans who have early kidney disease, especially those with diabetes, have a significantly increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Our challenge is to find early kidney disease and treat it aggressively. We can substantially reduce risk and improve outcomes by treatments that are readily available today.”

NKF recommends that all American adults have three simple tests for kidney disease -- a blood pressure check, urinalysis and a blood test for kidney function. This recommendation is especially pertinent for people with high blood pressure and/or diabetes, the elderly, African Americans, and those with a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney disease.

Dr. Warnock added, “We know there are millions of Americans who have chronic kidney disease but don’t know it. If we can find them and begin treatment, we can reduce their risk, improve their health and save money. Finding and treating kidney disease is a win/win situation.”

In response to recommendations from NKF, the Congress provided an increase of $1,800,000 to the CDC budget for Chronic Kidney Disease to develop capacity and infrastructure at CDC for a kidney disease surveillance, epidemiology, and health outcomes program; provide support for state-based demonstration projects for CKD prevention and control; and convene a consensus conference of experts in the area of kidney disease and other stakeholders to lay the groundwork for a formal Public Health Kidney Disease Action Plan for prevention and control of kidney disease. NKF has offered its assistance to CDC to work on developing the program. The result will be a nationwide increase in awareness of kidney disease and programs to combat it.

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. For more information, visit www.kidney.org.