Tackling anemia in patients with kidney disease: American Kidney Fund launches ‘ACT on Anemia’ program to encourage awareness, communication and treatment


ROCKVILLE, Maryland (October 6, 2016) – Research has shown that in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), anemia associated with their condition impairs daily living and reduces quality of life. The American Kidney Fund (AKF) today launched an education program, ACT on Anemia, designed to increase awareness of the link between reduced kidney function and anemia.

The ACT in the program’s title stands for Awareness, Communication and Treatment, and the program is structured around those three components:

  • Awareness. ACT on Anemia will help patients with CKD understand their risk for anemia and identify symptoms that may be caused by anemia. A dedicated webpage, KidneyFund.org/anemia, features an anemia symptom quiz and educational information about the links between anemia and CKD.
  • Communication. The program includes a toolkit for health care providers that contains materials to aid providers in having discussions with their patients about anemia and CKD.
  • Treatment. ACT on Anemia provides information about the various treatment options and the availability of clinical trials for anemia to empower patients to make informed decisions with their physicians.

“Chronic kidney disease and anemia are closely linked, but many patients with CKD might not be aware that some of their symptoms could be caused by anemia,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and chief executive officer of the American Kidney Fund. “Our ACT on Anemia education program is designed to help start the conversations between patient and physician, to ensure that anemia is diagnosed and treated, leading to a better quality of life.”

The ACT on Anemia program is made possible with support from Akebia Therapeutics, Inc.

The link between CKD and anemia

Anemia is common in patients with kidney disease, and can get worse as kidney function declines. Anemia is treatable, but many of its symptoms, such as feeling tired, weak or short of breath, are easily overlooked or attributed to other conditions.

Anemia in CKD 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. CKD patients must also follow a limited diet, and thus may not get enough iron through their food. With impaired kidney function and reduced iron intake, patients with CKD 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.

The American Kidney Fund will highlight ACT on Anemia at its booth #1533 at the American Society of Nephrology’s annual Kidney Week, held this year in Chicago Nov. 15-20. AKF will provide ACT on Anemia toolkits to attendees for use in their medical offices.

The program will also be featured at upcoming AKF Kidney Action Days in Houston (Oct. 9) and New Orleans (Oct. 22). Kidney Action Day is AKF’s signature outreach event, held in cities where rates of kidney disease are higher than the national average.

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.

For more information, please visit KidneyFund.org, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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