Your doctor can tell you whether you have kidney disease and what to do about it.
March is National Kidney Month, and the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is marking the occasion by warning the public about persistent disparities in chronic kidney disease (CKD).
The warning is part of an urgent call to action for all people, especially people in communities of color, to take a minute for their kidneys, know their risk factors and find out “Are You the 33%?”
“Are You the 33%?” is a public awareness effort by NKF focusing on educating people about five major risk factors for kidney disease: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and family history. One in 3 adults (33%) in the U.S. are at risk for kidney disease.
“Understanding the importance of early detection of kidney disease and all risk factors is the first step to successfully treating it,” said Kevin Longino, CEO of NKF and a kidney transplant recipient. “Disparities are a huge problem, and the science is telling us loudly that not all risk is biological or genetic. Societal factors that influence health, such as poverty, education, food insecurity, and housing, result in all communities–especially communities of color–in worsened health outcome. In other words, your zip code can be a bigger factor than your genetic code in developing kidney disease.”
Recognition of these social issues reflects a broader call by NKF to re-examine institutional policies and practices and to identify where structural racism affects risk for developing kidney disease and overall kidney healthcare.
“The data has been persistent,” Longino explained. “Communities of color, particularly Hispanic or Latino and African American or Black people, face a disproportionate burden of kidney disease and kidney failure. It’s another reason why it is absolutely critical people become aware of their risk.”
NKF has developed a one-minute quiz at MinuteForYourKidneys.org to provide everyone with a fast and free way to gauge their personal risk. The quiz is available in both English and Spanish. You can also join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #MinuteForYourKidneys.
To learn more about kidney disease and how to maintain optimal kidney health, visit www.kidney.org.