National Kidney Foundation (NKF) observed National Call Your Doctor Day on Tuesday, June 8th by asking everyone to get their annual exams because early prevention strategies are the keys to good health. Maintaining optimal health demands that people stay knowledgeable about their overall health and are aware of silent killers like kidney disease which affects more than 37 million adults in the U.S., 90% of whom are unaware they even have it.
This public health crisis has been made worse by COVID-19 because people hospitalized with COVID-19 are developing kidney failure and becoming kidney patients. As summer approaches and the country slowly reopens, visiting friends and relatives is a top priority for most but taking control of one’s health is the most important priority of all.
“I know first-hand that it’s easy to neglect your health when dealing with other issues like family, work, and the stresses of the pandemic,” said Kevin Long- ino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant recipient. “I didn’t know I had kidney disease but a visit to my doctor revealed that I did, and I was fortunate to catch it at a stage where I was able to delay kidney failure for years by making diet and lifestyle changes.”
Maintaining a healthy blood pressure and weight, enjoying a healthy diet, and making a yearly appointment to a primary care physician are essential steps to taking charge of one’s health. It only takes a few minutes to make an appointment for an annual exam.
People of certain racial and ethnic groups are more likely to develop kidney disease than others. Blacks or African Americans are 13 percent of the U.S. population, but represent 35 percent of those with kidney failure. Hispanics or Latinos are 1.3 times as likely as non-Hispanics/Latinos to develop kidney failure. A leading cause of kidney disease is diabetes which is more prevalent in these communities. Everyone needs to know about kidney disease, but especially if you have any one of these additional risk factors: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and family history of kidney disease.
NKF urges everyone with a risk factor to learn more about their kidney health by taking a simple, one-minute online quiz at MinuteForYourKidneys.org. The microsite is available in both English and Spanish at MinuteForYourKidneys.org. Patients should also ask their doctors about two simple tests to diagnose kidney disease: a specific urine test, called uACR, and a calculated blood test, called eGFR.
“National Call Your Doctor Day reminds us to take the crucial steps needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid preventable medical complications in the future,” said Joseph Vassalotti, MD, Chief Medical Officer for the National Kidney Foundation. With 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. at risk for developing kidney disease because of common conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, we must urgently transform understanding risk into taking actions to protect kidney health. A great way to start is by making an appointment to see your doctor.”
For more information on kidney disease, visit kidney.org and join the conversation on social media by using hashtag #CallYourDoctorDay.