National Kidney Foundation Issues Call to Action on “World Kidney Day”

New York, NY
January 10, 2007

New York, NY—January 3, 2007-- In recognition of the worldwide significance of kidney disease as a public health problem, the 2nd annual “World Kidney Day” will be observed on March 8, 2007, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) announced today. The foundation will lead U.S. activities for World Kidney Day designed to build kidney disease awareness, educate those at risk about the importance of early detection and the role of family health history.

To make early detection of chronic kidney disease (CKD) as easy as possible, the foundation is offering free screenings on March 8 in 30 cities around the country. The Kidney Early Evaluation Program, or KEEP, screenings are especially designed to find kidney disease early and its treatment recommendations for every stage of the disease improve the outcome of care for those who have kidney disease.

“Most individuals with kidney disease are not diagnosed until long after the illness has developed and threatened their health and even their life. We need to alert the public and health policy makers to this real threat to populations here in the U.S. and around the world and to the fact that early detection can make a difference,” says Dr. Allan Collins, NKF President and Chairman of the World Kidney Day Steering Committee.

World Kidney Day efforts will be coordinated globally by the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF) and the International Society of Nephrology (ISN), with the goal of spreading the crucial message that kidney disease is common, harmful and treatable.

Kidney disease is common because chronic kidney disease defined as a filtering capacity of less than 60% of normal (GFR of less than 60ml/min) and/or the presence of persistent microalbuminuria or proteinuria, has now been consistently shown to affect about 10-13% of the adult population in studies of different races living on different continents worldwide. According to the NKF, there are 20,000,000 adults with evidence of kidney disease in the United States alone.

“Kidney disease is also a heart and blood vessel disease multiplier of increased risk for adverse events and cost for individuals with high blood pressure or diabetes. These facts place kidney disease as a worldwide problem with a similar impact in the U.S. and other countries,” says Collins.

The harmful aspect of kidney disease will be emphasized not just because some patients progress to end stage renal disease (ESRD), but more because these renal abnormalities are associated with a many-fold increase in risk of cardiovascular complications and premature cardiovascular death.

World Kidney Day public education initiatives will highlight kidney disease as treatable because there is now strong scientific evidence that early detection, altering lifestyle factors and aggressively controlling blood pressure, can not only slow or halt the progression of patients with CKD to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) but can also significantly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease that leads to premature death in the majority of these patients.

“NKF is proud to lead this movement in the United States and to work with IFKF and ISN to have an impact on this critically important public health priority,” says Charles B. Fruit, NKF Chairman.

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 about risk factors, visit www.kidney.org or log on to www.keeponline.org to find out about local KEEP screenings.