Bijou Phillips Announces She Has Kidney Disease

February 17, 2017, 11:34am EST

A stark reminder that kidney disease affects millions

Kidney disease patients are no strangers to quietly dealing with the disease. Actress Bijou Phillips announced that she has been struggling with kidney disease privately for the last five years, including receiving dialysis.

Bijou’s kidney disease was caused by being born with small kidneys. Although the leading causes of chronic kidney disease are mainly diabetes or high blood pressure, other types of kidney disease are hereditary or caused by malformations that develop in the mother’s womb. Kidneys play a critical role in the body—acting as the body's filtering system, removing wastes, and controlling blood pressure--and once they fail dialysis or a kidney transplant are needed just to stay alive.

In a statement to ET, Bijou’s husband, Danny Masterson, announced that his wife already found a kidney donor and is expecting to receive a transplant soon. But not all kidney disease patients are so lucky. There are currently more than 100,000 people on the kidney transplant wait list –and the average wait time is long, three to five years or longer. 

If you need a kidney or are considering organ donation, National Kidney Foundation can help you start the conversation through a free program called The Big Ask: The Big Give.

There are currently 37 million people living with kidney disease in the United States, but 90% of them don’t even know they have it. For more information about kidney disease, visit or call 855.NKF.CARES (855.653.2273).