Members of the Kidney Disease Prevention and Education Task Force held a press conference Tuesday at the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois facility to increase awareness around prevention and treatment of the disease that affects 37 million Americans.
"Kidney disease is of the utmost importance here in Illinois. An estimated 1.4 million Illinoisans are affected and only around 177,000 of them are aware of it,” said National Kidney Foundation of Illinois CEO Jacqueline Burgess-Bishop. “Raised awareness and early detection of chronic kidney disease and its risk factors — including diabetes and hypertension — can help prevent the disease from developing or progressing."
Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States, with uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure as the leading causes. Black Americans are four times more likely to develop kidney disease.
“It means the world to me to be co-chair of this task force, as I have been working with the National Kidney Foundation on this issue for a long time,” said State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago). “My mother was diagnosed with kidney disease when I was a teenager, and I struggled watching her suffer. I want to work towards prevention and treatment so that no one has to watch their loved ones die from this disease.”
The task force will work with leading educational institutions in Illinois to create health education programs to increase awareness of and examine chronic kidney disease, early detection, transplants and kidney donations, and the greater rates of diagnosis in minority groups.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, 33% of adults in the U.S. are at risk for developing kidney disease. Preventative measures include regular checkups, managing blood pressure and blood sugar, eating healthy and exercising. If chronic kidney disease is detected early and managed correctly, swift treatment can slow and even stop kidney deterioration.
“I am so proud to be part of the Kidney Disease Prevention and Education Task Force and to be working with such knowledgeable experts in this arena,” said State Representative Maurice West (D-Rockford). “I firmly believe that we have an opportunity not only to improve treatment and accessibility, but also to build awareness and take a proactive approach to preventing kidney disease for many in our communities.”
Task force members are dedicated to bringing awareness to this cause, and are developing a plan for raising public awareness and presenting solutions to reduce the prevalence of kidney disease and racial disparities in diagnoses and outcomes.
Despite there being over 3,000 people in Illinois waiting for a kidney, the current wait for a deceased donor kidney is between five and eight years in Illinois, with Black adults often waiting the longest. An increase in living donations can significantly cut that wait.
There are free KidneyMobile screenings across the state. Get screened for diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease. Visit kidneymobile.org for date and location information.
Visit www.nkfi.org for more information other free patient programs offered by the NKFI.