American Kidney Fund Receives Funding Support to Expand Popular ‘ACT on Anemia’ Education Program to Reach Spanish Speakers


Education program increases awareness of a common side effect of kidney disease and kidney failure

ROCKVILLE, Maryland (April 27, 2017) – The American Kidney Fund (AKF) today announced it has received funding support to expand its popular “ACT on Anemia” program by creating new Spanish-language web content and educational materials, along with enhanced information on anemia for people living with kidney failure. ACT on Anemia will also continue to be featured at AKF’s Kidney Action Day outreach events around the country, which reach people at increased risk for kidney disease.

ACT on Anemia was launched in fall 2016 with support from Akebia Therapeutics, Inc. to increase awareness of anemia as a serious side effect—and sometimes a symptom—of chronic kidney disease (CKD). In its first six months, ACT on Anemia reached tens of thousands of people who wanted to learn more about the links between anemia and CKD—35,000 page views and 4,000 visitors who took an online quiz to test their knowledge of anemia.

The expanded ACT on Anemia program will build on its initial three-pronged focus:

  • Awareness: helping patients with CKD and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) understand their risk for anemia and identify symptoms that may be caused by anemia. All website content—including the anemia quiz—will be translated into Spanish as part of the program expansion.
  • Communication: providing tools for patients and health care providers to facilitate discussions about anemia and CKD. Tools will be newly available in Spanish as well as English.
  • Treatment: information about available treatment options will be enhanced with expanded resources about clinical trials for anemia to empower patients to make informed decisions with their physicians. Treatment and clinical trial information will also be available in Spanish.

“We are grateful that Akebia recognizes the importance of supporting AKF’s mission to help people fight kidney disease and live healthier lives,” said LaVarne Burton, president and CEO of the American Kidney Fund. “The launch of ACT on Anemia reached thousands of people who benefited from the program, and we are thrilled to be able to expand the program to reach a wider audience.”

Anemia and kidney disease

Research shows that anemia is twice as common in patients with kidney disease as in the general population. Anemia may begin to develop in the early stages of kidney disease, and usually gets worse as kidney function declines. The condition is treatable, but many of its symptoms, such as feeling tired, weak or short of breath, are easily overlooked or attributed to other conditions. Managing anemia in patients with kidney disease is an essential part of treatment.

Anemia in kidney disease can be caused by a lack of iron and/or a lack of a hormone called erythropoietin (EPO). Healthy kidneys produce EPO, which stimulates the body’s production of red blood cells. Because patients with kidney disease must follow a limited diet, they may not get enough iron through their food. With impaired kidney function and reduced iron intake, patients with kidney disease may not have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to their organs, bones and muscles. Fatigue and weakness are the most common complications of anemia in CKD, but it can result in more serious complications, such as heart failure and even death.

About the American Kidney Fund

As the nation’s leading nonprofit working on behalf of the 31 million Americans with kidney disease, the American Kidney Fund is dedicated to ensuring that every kidney patient has access to health care, and that every person at risk for kidney disease is empowered to prevent it. AKF provides a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention outreach, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling 1 in 5 U.S. dialysis patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation.

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