An Unusual Way, and Day, to Celebrate Family

New York, NY
November 14, 2006

March 8th may be just a typical Thursday to most people.  But if you're one of the 20 million Americans who have chronic kidney disease and don't know it, March 8th or World Kidney Day, may be the day that saved your life.  It’s the day designated by the National Kidney Foundation as the time to learn about your family’s health history.

To highlight the connection between family and one’s own health, the foundation hopes Americans will look upon World Kidney Day as a time to get close to their loved ones, and in so doing, look closer at their personal medical history, and then get their kidneys checked out. Many, if not most, people considered at risk for chronic kidney disease are so designated because of medical problems inherited from family members. So finding out your health history may be the first step to preventing kidney failure.

To make early detection of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) as easy as possible, the foundation is offering free screening on March 8 in (at least) 20 cities around the country. The Kidney Early Evaluation Program, or KEEP, screenings are especially designed for people who think they may be at risk for CKD.

The second annual World Kidney Day, observed during National Kidney Month in March, is part of an international effort to focus attention on one these vital organs, and to raise awareness among people, especially those considered at risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD).

For example, if you or a family member has diabetes or high blood pressure (hypertension), you are at risk for chronic kidney disease. Also, people who belong to certain minority groups, such as Af rican-Americans, Hispanics, Asians or Pacific Islanders, remain at high risk for CKD.

The National Kidney Foundation is eager to see people embrace March 8 by learning more about their parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters; in fact, any blood relatives. In the process, relatives may discover fascinating things about each other, and may realize that a family member suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes or even chronic kidney disease itself.

The Foundation is joining forces with similar foundations around the world to highlight World Kidney Day and its theme of early detection and prevention of kidney failure. Chronic kidney disease is a potentially fatal condition, often called a "silent" killer since so many people are not aware they have it until it’s too late.

To find out the foundation’s schedule of free KEEP screenings around the country, visit www.keeponline.org. To receive a free “Am I at Risk?” brochure, call the National Kidney Foundation at (800) 622-9010.