1 in 3 at Risk for Kidney Disease: Are You the One?

Submitted by Mount Baker Foundation

Mount Baker Foundation is sponsoring a Kidney Health Awareness Initiative to inform Whatcom County residents about the recognizable risk factors that can lead to kidney disease. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is called the silent epidemic because symptoms often do not appear until the disease is advanced and harder to treat.

The public awareness campaign will span the month of March, coinciding with National Kidney Month. Debbie Ahl, Executive Director of Mount Baker Foundation notes “One in three, or 33% of adults are at risk for kidney disease and most of us don’t know it. We want to change that through community education.”

Ahl asks the community to take a one-minute quiz to check their risk for kidney disease at minuteforyourkidneys.org and share the results with their primary care provider. She emphasized that diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of kidney failure.

Dr. Bill Lombard, past medical director of the Mt. Baker Kidney Center, and board member of the foundation said, “We hope to reduce the number of people arriving for dialysis, particularly without having seen a nephrologist

first. We can do this by increasing awareness of the importance of kidney health and by encouraging primary care providers to review risk factors with their patients periodically.” Having kidney disease increases a person’s risk of developing life-threatening complications from Covid-19.

Lombard stated that 48% of people with severely reduced kidney function who are not on dialysis are not aware of having CKD. With proper treatment, it is possible to slow the progression of kidney disease but if kidneys fail, treatment options include dialysis, a transplant, or palliative care in certain circumstances. Mount Baker Foundation plans future initiatives that will encourage living donor participation. Last year only 21,000 donor organs were available for transplant, but there were more than 100,000 people in the United States on the kidney transplant list, with a three to four-year wait.

A key goal of the foundation’s initiative is to demystify the amazing 24/7 work that your kidneys do to ensure the best quality of life possible.

Mount Baker Foundation is a not-for-profit formed as a legacy board and beneficiary of the community benefit from the sale of the Mt Baker Kidney Center to DaVita Health Partners. The vision of the founders is to contribute to “Individuals, families, neighborhoods, and communities becoming stronger, healthier, more resilient and more compassionate, generation aftergeneration.” Its focus is on children and families, equity and health determinants, and the quality of life and quality of care of kidney disease and dialysis patients.

For details on the initiative, visit www.mtbakerfoundation.org.

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