"Diabetes is a leading cause of kidneyfailure in the United States and is increasingmore rapidly," said Thomas Hostetter,MD, director of the National Kidney DiseaseEducation Program (NKDEP). In aneffort to raise awareness about the seriousnessof kidney disease, the NKDEPhas launched the "You Have the Power toPrevent Kidney Disease" campaign. Thecampaign stresses 3 key messages.They are as follows: (1) know if you are atrisk, (2) have your kidneys tested if youare at risk, and (3) kidney failure can beslowed or prevented if kidney disease isdetected early.
Statistics indicate that approximately20 million Americans have kidney disease,and the main risk factors for kidneydisease are diabetes, hypertension, anda family history of kidney disease. AfricanAmericans are 4 times more likely thanCaucasians to develop kidney disease.
Because kidney failure is treatable ifdetected early, "people need to be testedat least once a year," Dr. Hostetter said.There are simple tests to detect kidneydisease. Examples include a urine test tolook for the protein albumin and a bloodscreen to look at the filtration function ofthe kidney. Aside from brochures forpatients and families, the NKDEP is producingprint and radio public serviceannouncements and determining whatother groups the program needs to reach.The NKDEP is an initiative of the NationalInstitute of Diabetes and Digestive andKidney Diseases, one of the NationalInstitutes of Health. For additional information,visit www.nkdep.nih.gov.