Blog post

3 free resources from the VHA-AKF partnership for veterans with kidney disease

Helping to serve those who served our country with the tools to help them fight kidney disease on all fronts
Woman in Army uniform and child

In 2020, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and the American Kidney Fund (AKF) formed a partnership to help address the rising rates of kidney disease within the veteran community.

Kidney disease affects about 1 in 6 veterans. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the percentage of veterans with kidney disease is estimated to be 34% higher than the general population. NIDDK also reports the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) currently cares for 600,000 veterans with kidney disease and more than 40,000 VA-enrolled veterans are living with kidney failure. Additionally, diabetes and high blood pressure – the two leading causes of kidney disease – affect 25% and 37% of the veteran population respectively. And like the general population, there are statistically significant racial and ethnicity disparities within the veteran community, with Black veterans nearly twice as likely as non-Hispanic white veterans to develop kidney disease.

Through our partnership with the VHA, AKF is working to increase awareness of kidney disease among U.S. veterans and provide support to veterans who have been diagnosed with kidney disease. Here are three resources produced because of our partnership to help veterans prevent and manage kidney disease:

1. Recorded sessions from AKF's annual Kidney Action Week

In 2022, VHA participated in two sessions of AKF's annual Kidney Action Week, a week-long, virtual event aiming to connect people with kidney disease, caregivers and healthcare providers in AKF's on-going efforts to bring patient-centered kidney-related education to the public: (1) "Coffee Chat with the Veterans Health Administration" and (2) "Veterans, Kidney Disease and Diabetes: The Mounting Mental Health Burdens of Managing Chronic Disease."

2. Veteran benefits guide

Veterans with kidney disease may be eligible for any one of AKF's grants or financial assistance programs. Additionally, the VA offers enrolled veterans kidney services that can help slow down and prevent kidney failure, including screening to prevent kidney failure, early management of kidney disease, kidney biopsy to assess for kidney disorders, management of blood pressure, anemia, bone disorders, and kidney stones, in-center or home dialysis and kidney transplantation. Here is a downloadable guide to benefits through the VA and AKF.

3. Managing kidney disease guide

Find out what steps you may be able to take to prevent your kidney disease from progressing to kidney failure in this helpful one-page, downloadable guide for veterans.

All these resources – and more! – can be found on AKF's dedicated website page for veterans with kidney disease.

In addition to these veteran-specific resources, AKF encourages veterans to explore the many other useful tools for understanding and managing kidney disease, including:

  • Know Your Kidneys™, which features educational content and downloadable doctor discussion guides to encourage you to start critical conversations with your health care teams to protect your kidneys before and after a kidney disease diagnosis.
  • Kidney Kitchen®, a website dedicated to helping people with kidney disease navigate healthy eating with recipes, cooking demonstrations and downloadable guides.
  • Information on specific kidney-related diseases like lupus nephritis, cystinosis, Fabry disease, IgA nephropathy and more.


Meredith Deeley

Meredith Deeley is the communications specialist for the American Kidney Fund.