Be confident. Be insistent. Get answers.

Talk with your doctor about your chances of having kidney disease. Your doctor may not bring it up, but you can. If you have family members with kidney disease or have risk factors such as diabetes or high blood pressure, ask your doctor about your kidney health and the genetic causes of kidney disease.  

5 important steps to take

  • Check Your Kidneys: Use this interactive tool that uses your lab results to offer a free personalized kidney health report. 
  • Talk to your Doctor: Download this Talk to Your Doctor Guide to help you have important conversations about your kidney health, especially if you have high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • Learn about AMKD: Learn about your risk of developing APOL1-mediated kidney disease, a genetic kidney disease affecting people with Western and Central African ancestry, include Black, African American, Afro-Caribbean, and/or Latina/Latino persons.
  • Stay Connected: Sign-up to receive to receive our newsletter, with the latest news in health equity and opportunities to support kidney health for all.  

It is your right to have quality health care. Actively participating in your care, advocating for yourself and knowing your rights can help ensure you get the quality care you deserve.   

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Finding kidney disease early is critical

When kidney disease is caught in the early stages, you have less chance of developing kidney failure and needing dialysis or a transplant. Although there is no cure for kidney disease, medications and changes to what you eat can keep it from getting worse and prevent your kidneys from failing.  


Be your own best advocate 

Be insistent with your doctor

Come to your appointment with a written list of your symptoms, questions and concerns. If you feel that your doctor isn't taking your concerns seriously, there are things you can do to make sure you get the care you deserve. Know your rights as a patient. 

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  • You have the right to be treated with respect at all times, free from discrimination. 

  • You have the right to have your personal health information kept private. 

  • You have the right to choose the treatments that feel best for you. 

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act Title III Regulations (Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities) is a law that gives you the right to have a professional interpreter at every appointment with your doctor at no charge to you, for any language, including sign language. This means patients do not have to rely on family members to translate at appointments and caregivers can rely on a professional interpreter to translate medical information if they prefer.

  • You have the right to an accurate and early kidney disease diagnosis, with timely referral to a nephrologist.   

  • If you do not understand something, you have the right to ask your doctor and keep asking until they are clear. Use the teach-back method to make sure you understand — repeat what your doctor said back to them in your own words. 

  • You have the right to get a second opinion or take time to think about any treatment your doctor is recommending and talk to your family about it .

  • You have the right to participate in clinical trials and access the latest kidney disease medical innovations.  

Take charge of your health 

You are an important member of your health care team 

Ready, set, take action

In spite of the challenges, when you are armed with the right tools and knowledge, you can get the health care you deserve. The American Kidney Fund provides the help and support that you need to join the fight for health equity. 

Working together


This Health Equity Pillar is supported by: