National Kidney Foundation to Promote "World Kidney Day"

New York, NY (January 25, 2006) - In recognition of the worldwide significance of kidney disease as a public health problem, the first-ever "World Kidney Day" will be observed on March 9, 2006, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) announced today. The foundation will lead U.S. activities for World Kidney Day designed to build kidney disease awareness and educate those at risk about the importance of early detection

In future years, "World Kidney Day," established by the International Federation of Kidney Foundations, will be observed on the second Thursday of March in the United States and throughout the world.

"World Kidney Day" will call attention to the growing threat that kidney disease poses to populations the world over. According to the NKF, there are 20,000,000 adults with kidney disease in the United States alone. "Kidney disease is also a multiplier of increased risk and cost for individuals with high blood pressure or diabetes. That indicates the scope and severity of kidney disease in the U.S. and the incidence rates are similar in other countries," says Dr. Allan Collins, President-Elect of NKF and Chairman of the World Kidney Day Steering Committee.

Led by the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF) and the International Society of Nephrology (ISN), World Kidney Day efforts will be coordinated globally with the goal of calling public attention to steps that can be taken to identify those at risk and delay the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure.

"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 Collins.

"Kidney disease is a killer and it makes many common conditions much worse. People with diabetes and high blood pressure should be tested for kidney disease so that treatment can be effective in lowering their risk," adds Collins. "Early kidney disease is a serious matter itself. We shouldn't think of it as a minor condition and only kidney failure as dangerous. People with kidney disease are seven times more likely to die than to progress to kidney failure."