AKF Pairs Up with San Antonians to Fight Kidney Disease

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SAN ANTONIO—American Kidney Fund (AKF)  will host Kidney Action Day, which includes a fundraising walkathon, in San Antonio on Saturday, October 6, from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at the AT&T Center.

The free event is open to the public and will feature health screenings, entertainment and food demonstrations, and 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 disease is a serious health concern throughout the state of Texas, where the prevalence rate is more than four times the national average,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and chief executive officer of the AKF. “Early detection can delay or prevent kidney failure, so I can’t stress how important it is to learn about your risk and maintain a healthy lifestyle. We hope San Antonio residents will take advantage of the free kidney 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. In 2011, the AKF provided more than $31 million in financial assistance to kidney patients throughout the state of Texas, with $2 million going to patients locally in San Antonio. Nearly 500 people in San Antonio received free kidney health screenings last year from the AKF.

"I appreciate the American Kidney Fund’s continuous efforts to bring a kidney disease early awareness and education program to San Antonio, where the prevalence of diabetes, the most common cause of kidney failure, is much higher,” said Shweta Bansal, MD, with UT Medicine San Antonio, the clinical practice of the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. “We know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and these community events are crucial and very important for education of our population."

An estimated 31 million people in the United States are living with CKD, the nation’s eighth-leading cause of death. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of CKD, but other major risk factors including having heart disease, being over age 60, and being African American, Asian American, Native American, or of Hispanic ethnicity can contribute to the disease. Left undiagnosed and untreated, CKD can lead to heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure and 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 include U.S. Renal Care, Valero, DaVita, Genentech, and The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, School of Nursing. For more information, visit www.kidneyfund.org.

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