Advocacy | Kidney disease

NKF's Call to Establish Standardized Screening Recommendations for Chronic Kidney Disease

March 11, 2024, 11:22am EDT

Doctor speaking caringly to a patient

Ensuring access to early screening is vital for safeguarding the health of your heart and kidneys. That is why the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is collaborating with other organizations to urge the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to establish a standardized recommendation for kidney disease screening.

What is the Problem?

In the United States, a whopping 37 million adults have chronic kidney disease (CKD), but shockingly, about 90% of them aren't even aware of it. What's more concerning is that 80 million adults have conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or other factors that can raise the risk of chronic kidney disease. Thirty-three percent of adults in the United States are at risk for kidney disease. That’s 1 in every 3 people.

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If left untreated, CKD can lead to serious health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, and kidney failure. Unfortunately, certain communities, especially Black or African Americans and Hispanics or Latinos, experience a disproportionate burden of kidney disease compared to others.

In its earlier stages, CKD can be a silent disease. Symptoms of CKD can include fatigue, swelling, shortness of breath, trouble sleeping, which can be mild and easily missed in the day-to-day grind. That’s why CKD screening – done using a simple blood and urine test - is so important.

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF), the American Society of Nephrology (ASN), our friends at the Coalition for Kidney Health (C4KH), and other stakeholders are supporting policy initiatives that would increase awareness and screening for CKD. We are advocating with the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to make sure all adults, especially those who might be at risk, get checked for CKD. Early testing can safeguard kidney and heart health for longer and allow for prompt diagnosis and treatment.

What is USPSTF?

The United States Preventive Services Task Force is a group of healthcare professionals who make recommendations about when people should get screened for diseases and health conditions. Their recommendations are important because they guide doctors and health plans in providing preventive care. A recommendation from the USPSTF for CKD screening would be a game-changer for patients. It could help detect CKD early, improve people's quality of life, and prevent costly treatments down the road, especially for underserved and disinvested communities.

Members of the Congressional Kidney Caucus are working to gather support from Congress for a federal screening recommendation for CKD, particularly for high-risk groups like those with diabetes and high blood pressure. The NKF is urging kidney advocates to reach out to their members of Congress and ask them to support the Kidney Caucus' efforts

Stay in the Loop

Staying informed is not just empowering, but potentially lifesaving. By following the National Kidney Foundation for the latest updates on kidney advocacy, you're not just staying ahead of the curve, but actively participating in a community dedicated to improving health outcomes for generations to come. Your actions save lives! Want to take your advocacy to the next level? Join our choir of advocates and become a member of the Kidney Advocacy Committee today! 

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