|NIH Encourages African Americans
to Discuss Kidney Disease at Family Reunions
New Toolkit Helps Families Make the Kidney Connection
As African Americans across the country prepare for
family reunions this summer, NIH is encouraging them
to bring “health to the table” by alerting family members
about their risks for kidney disease.
The National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP)
is launching an initiative this week to encourage African
Americans who are attending reunions to reach out to
relatives who have leading risk factors for kidney disease — diabetes
or high blood pressure.
“Many people know family members who have diabetes
or high blood pressure. Our goal is to make them aware
of their risk for kidney disease and to encourage them
to get tested and take steps to protect their kidneys,” says
Dr. Thomas Hostetter, director of NKDEP.
African Americans are four times more likely than whites
to develop kidney failure. Furthermore, diabetes and
high blood pressure account for 70 percent of kidney
failure in African Americans. Because diabetes and high
blood pressure run in families, reunions offer good
opportunities to discuss kidney disease.
“Kidney disease has no early warning signs,” said Dr.
Hostetter. “Not knowing the risks can have disastrous
consequences. But there is good news. Once diagnosed,
kidney disease can be treated and kidney failure can
be prevented or delayed.”
To help families talk about kidney disease, NKDEP has
created a free, online Kidney Connection Toolkit containing
everything needed to share important kidney health information
at reunions, including simple guides for conducting
a 15-minute Make the Kidney Connection health discussion,
identifying and talking with family members at risk,
and distributing kidney disease prevention information
Organizations partnering with NKDEP on the initiative
are the National Urban League, the International Society
on Hypertension in Blacks, the National Medical Association,
and the COSHAR Foundation. Partners are spreading the
word and the toolkit throughout the summer.
For more information and to download the NKDEP toolkit,
The National Kidney Disease Education Program is an
initiative of the National Institute of Diabetes and
Digestive and Kidney Diseases, one of the National Institutes
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) The
Nation's Medical Research Agency is comprised
of 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of
the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.
It is the primary Federal agency for conducting and
supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical
research, and investigates the causes, treatments,
and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more
information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.