Press release

Know Your Kidneys™: American Kidney Fund Launches National Campaign to Prevent and Slow Down Kidney Disease

Educational campaign links kidney health and early intervention in kidney disease to life's possibilities

ROCKVILLE, Md. (Nov. 6, 2019) — The American Kidney Fund (AKF) today launched a new national campaign, Know Your Kidneys™, to empower individuals to fulfill their life's possibilities by preventing or slowing down the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD). It is built around a simple but powerful message: "Know life's possibilities. Healthy kidneys can make them happen."

With engaging graphics, clear messages and downloadable guides, Know Your Kidneys encourages Americans to know the central role of the kidneys in their overall health, and ties that to their ability to experience life's possibilities and milestones. By taking the actions necessary to diagnose and manage CKD in its early stages as well as its precursors diabetes and high blood pressure — the leading causes of kidney disease — they can look forward to experiencing life's possibilities rather than CKD robbing them of their most joyous moments. The campaign's webpage features educational content and downloadable doctor discussion guides to encourage patients to start critical conversations with their health care teams to protect their kidneys before and after a kidney disease diagnosis.

The Know Your Kidneys campaign is making its debut at American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Kidney Week 2019, the world's premier nephrology meeting. The campaign is made possible by Janssen Inc., part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

"We believe that with greater awareness, the right knowledge and engaging educational tools, more Americans will receive an earlier diagnosis of kidney disease and even prevent it altogether," said LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO. "Over time, our Know Your Kidneys campaign can play an important role in changing the trajectory of this disease, and we are grateful to have support from Janssen in making this exciting new campaign a reality."

AKF already runs the nation's largest free kidney health screening program, which screened more than 11,000 people for kidney disease and its risk factors in 2018. The Know Your Kidneys campaign complements AKF's on-the-ground efforts in cities nationwide with the ability to reach millions of Americans with, and at risk for, kidney disease.

Kidney disease is the fastest-growing noncommunicable disease, affecting 37 million Americans, according to the CDC. Yet the vast majority of Americans with early CKD — 96% — are unaware of it because it typically has no symptoms until the late stages when the kidneys are badly damaged.

More than a third of U.S. patients who receive a diagnosis of kidney failure had little or no nephrology care prior to end-stage renal disease (ESRD), when they need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. Intervention with diet and lifestyle changes, along with medications, especially in the early stages, can help slow or stop the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure.  About 2 out of every 3 new cases of kidney failure are caused by diabetes and high blood pressure. In the coming months, AKF plans to roll out a series of additional tools, including videos, for patients in the Know Your Kidneys campaign.

About the American Kidney Fund

The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nonprofit with the greatest direct impact on people with kidney disease. AKF works on behalf of 1 in 7 Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. AKF fights for kidney health for all through programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy. AKF is one of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, investing 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, and holds the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 21 consecutive years and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly known as GuideStar. 

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