Guest Blog: Kidney Month Marks 31 Days of Action to Equip and Empower People to Prioritize their Kidney Health and Fight Kidney Disease

LaVarne A. Burton, President and CEO, American Kidney Fund 

March is Kidney Month, a month in which the American Kidney Fund (AKF) marks 31 days of action that are focused on equipping and empowering people with the tools and knowledge they need to prioritize their kidney health and fight kidney disease.  

Approximately 37 million, or about 1 in 7 Americans, are living with kidney disease, an incurable life-altering chronic condition that takes a tremendous physical, emotional, and financial toll on patients and their loved ones. A silent killer, kidney disease symptoms typically do not appear until later stages, so nine in 10 people with early kidney disease are unaware they have it or that they have the power to slow down the damage to their kidneys by taking precautions. 

Once a person reaches kidney failure, they require dialysis or a kidney transplant to live. Up to 80% of dialysis patients can’t work because of the amount of time dialysis takes up in their lives, as well as the impact of dialysis on their bodies. The prevalence and toll of kidney disease make the condition a public health crisis. that Is why AKF is taking action during Kidney Month and all throughout the year.  

During Kidney Month, AKF promotes the power of knowledge by sharing resources, tools, and facts about the magnitude and impact of kidney disease on Americans and the truth behind common myths and misconceptions. In particular, we are drawing attention to the fact that people with kidney disease are more likely to have or develop other health problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure (the leading causes of kidney disease), and offer guidance on talking to a doctor about kidney disease. In addition, we share information about the five stages of kidney disease and our guide to eating kidney-friendly foods.  

The hallmark event of Kidney Month is AKF’s Kidney Action Week – our free, virtual, national conference March 18-22 that brings together patients, caregivers, nephrologists, researchers, and other kidney experts for a weeklong series of sessions about a variety of topics related to kidney disease, including dialysis, kidney disease prevention, kidney-friendly eating, transplant, innovations in kidney disease and more. You can register at any time throughout the week to attend live sessions, or catch up on sessions of interest on AKF’s YouTube channel.  

Kidney Action Week will include a Congressional Briefing that focuses on rare kidney disease, with a discussion about the need to increase research and public awareness, promote earlier diagnosis, and improve access to genetic testing and counseling and additional treatments. The briefing will include remarks from U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, who along with Rep. Terri Sewell is the cosponsor of the New Era of Preventing End-Stage Kidney Disease Act (H.R. 6790), bipartisan legislation that will expand community and health care provider awareness and improve diagnosis of rare kidney diseases. 

Importantly, AKF also will be sharing resources from our Kidney Health for All™ heath equity program, which centers around our four pillars of action that address ways to improve kidney health for people of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds. 

Throughout this month of action, we call on members of the public and the  voluntary health community to join in solidarity in support of everyone affected by kidney disease. Visit the Kidney Month landing page today to learn more about Kidney Month and ways to get involved in this critical effort.  

The American Kidney Fund is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization that fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s nonprofit with the greatest direct impact on patients’ lives.  

The American Kidney Fund is a member of the National Health Council (NHC). For information about joining the NHC, visit our Become A Member page or  email us at [email protected].