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Kidney Disease Risks Among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are more at risk for kidney failure.  Over 21,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have kidney failure! 

Why are Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders more at risk?
How can I prevent kidney disease?
What is the American Kidney Fund doing to help?
More Information

Why are Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders more at risk? 

Although we are not exactly sure why Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are more at risk, diabetes, high blood pressure and access to health care play a big part.

1.  Diabetes is the #1 cause of kidney failure.  It causes almost half of all cases in the United States.  Overall, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders get diabetes less often than many other groups.  However, diabetes is a serious problem for some groups in certain parts of the country: 

  • In Hawaii and California, Asians, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders get diabetes more often than Whites. 
  • Diabetes affects some Pacific Islanders differently.
    • In Hawaii, Native Hawaiians die from diabetes almost six times as often as Whites.  Filipinos living in Hawaii die from diabetes more than three times as often as Whites. 
    • Diabetes causes eye disease and other problems in Native Hawaiians more often than whites.

2.  High Blood Pressure is the #2 cause of kidney failure.  It causes about 1 out of 4 cases in the United States.  High blood pressure is a serious problem for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders:

  • Almost 1 in 5 (over 19%) Asian American and Pacific Islander adults has high blood pressure.

3.  Almost 1 in 6 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is uninsured.  If diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease are caught early, they can usually be managed.  However, almost 1 in 6 (17%) of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is not insured.  As a result, health care choices may be limited.

How can I prevent kidney disease?

1.  Get tested.  Talk to your doctor about being tested for diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease.  Many patients with kidney disease never have any symptoms until it is too late.  Ask your doctor to tell you your GFR, the best test for kidney disease.
2.  Eat right.  Eat foods low in fat and cholesterol.  Eat foods that are high in fiber.  Limit how much alcohol you drink.
3.  Live healthy.  Exercise, keep a healthy weight, don’t smoke or use tobacco, and treat bladder and kidney infections fast.
4.  Manage diabetes and high blood pressure.
  Diabetes and high blood pressure cause about 3 out of 4 cases of kidney failure.  If you have either, talk to your doctor about how to keep them in control.  Click here to order or download our brochures, "Diabetes and Your Kidneys" and "High Blood Pressure and Your Kidneys."

 

What is the American Kidney Fund doing to help?

Our Screenings & Education program provides education, health screenings, and follow-up to high-risk minority communities in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago and other cities nationwide.  To find a free health screening in your area, click here.

More Information

American Diabetes Association
http://www.diabetes.org 

American Heart Association
http://www.americanheart.org

National Kidney Disease Education Program
http://nkdep.nih.gov 

Updated 2/11/08 

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