HOUSTON—The American Kidney Fund (AKF) will host Kidney Action Day, which includes a fundraising walkathon, at Discovery Green in downtown Houston on Sunday, October 14, from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. This free event, featuring health screenings, entertainment and food demonstrations, is open to the public and will bring together hundreds of local health advocates, patients and members of the community to raise awareness of kidney disease.
The free health screenings will check for indicators of kidney and heart health, diabetes, and other important health measures. Funds raised through the Kidney Action Day Walk will support the many programs and services of AKF that provide critical resources to help both at-risk individuals and those living with this chronic condition.
“Kidney Action Day is designed to educate those at risk for chronic kidney disease about the leading causes of the disease and the actions they can take to prevent it or slow its progression,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and chief executive officer of the AKF. “Kidney disease is a serious health concern throughout the state of Texas, where rates of kidney disease are above the national average, so it’s important for Houstonians to learn about their risks factors. We encourage everyone to take advantage of the free health screenings and critical information available at Kidney Action Day.”
The AKF has made it a priority to extend its mission of fighting kidney disease by locally promoting the importance of early screening, education and prevention methods, and provided free kidney health screenings to more than 400 Houston-area residents last year. Additionally, in 2011, the AKF provided more than $31 million in financial assistance to kidney patients throughout the state of Texas, with more than $5 million going to patients in Houston.
“The number of chronic kidney disease cases continues to escalate, yet many Texans are unaware they are at risk,” said Dr. Horacio Adrogue, nephrologist at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. “Houston faces an alarming problem, particularly among minorities, with hundreds waiting for life-saving transplants at all major Texas Medical Center transplant centers.”
Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of CKD, but other major risk factors include having heart disease, being over age 60, or being African American, Asian American, Native American, or of Hispanic ethnicity. Left undiagnosed and untreated, CKD can lead to heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure and death.
An estimated 31 million people in the United States are living with CKD, the nation’s eighth-leading cause of death. CKD, known as a silent killer because it typically has no symptoms until the late stages, is an often-preventable health condition. If an individual has developed early CKD, detection through testing is a key factor in slowing or stopping the progression of the disease. Because prevention and early detection are vital to keep at-risk individuals in good health, AKF’s national campaign, Pair Up: Join the Fight to Prevent Kidney Disease, urges the public to learn if they’re at risk for kidney disease and to spread the word to friends or loved ones who also may be at risk. As part of Pair Up, AKF educates the public about risk factors and offers free kidney disease screenings in cities nationwide.
This year’s event is sponsored nationally by American Renal Associates. Regional sponsors are US Renal Care and DaVita. For more information, visit www.kidneyfund.org.