National Kidney Foundation Urges Americans: Get Checked Out for Kidney Disease

New York, NY (January 30, 2004) - More than 20 million Americans have chronic kidney disease, and another 20 million more are at increased risk, according to the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), yet most don't even know it. During March, National Kidney Month, the NKF urges all Americans, especially those at increased risk, to get tested for kidney disease.

"Chronic kidney disease usually causes no symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage, but simple tests can be done to detect kidney disease early," said Brian J.G. Pereira, M.D., president of NKF. "If caught early enough, chronic kidney disease can be treated to prolong or even prevent associated complicating factors, such as heart disease," Pereira concluded.

According to Pereira, it's important that people visit their doctor or a clinic to find out if they could be at increased risk for chronic kidney disease. Anyone can get chronic kidney disease, but some people are more likely than others to develop it. People in high-risk groups include:

  • Diabetics or those with a family history of diabetes
  • Those with high blood pressure or family history of hypertension
  • Those with a family history of chronic kidney disease
  • African-Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders and American Indians
  • Senior Citizens

The National Kidney Foundation recommends three simple tests for those at risk: blood pressure measurement, urinalysis to check for protein and a blood test to test for the level of serum creatinine, a waste build-up that would indicate that the kidneys are not doing their job of filtering the blood well enough.

Kidney disease strategies include:

  • control blood pressure by using ACE inhibitor medications or by exercising and eating a low-salt diet
  • control blood sugar for diabetics
  • stop smoking, especially for those with high blood pressure
  • keep weight down.

For more information about chronic kidney disease, call the National Kidney Foundation at (800) 622-9010. The NKF is a major voluntary health organization seeking to prevent kidney and urinary tract diseases, improve the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases, and increase the availability of all organs for transplantation.