Raising Awareness For An Early Diagnosis
Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: February 2023 | Last updated: April 2023
Raising awareness about chronic kidney disease (CKD) is vital. CKD is a global health concern. Rates of CKD are increasing, especially among people of color and people who have diabetes, high blood pressure, or obesity. Yet awareness of this serious disease remains low.1,2
This is why advocacy and raising awareness about CKD is critical. The more people there are who can recognize the disease, the more people there will be who get screened earlier and get necessary treatment.1,3
Early diagnosis can help save lives
Raising awareness about chronic kidney disease can help people get screened for signs of kidney damage. This helps them get diagnosed earlier. And the earlier someone is diagnosed with CKD, the better their chances of maintaining their existing kidney function are. Early detection can help people with kidney disease live longer, fuller lives.1,3
Screening is crucial for high-risk people
The top 2 risk factors of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. But many people with these conditions are not getting the recommended screening they need to make sure their kidneys are healthy.2,3
The National Kidney Foundation and the American Society for Clinical Pathology are working to solve this. They are trying to standardize certain tests to help with early detection in people who are more likely to have CKD. These tests include:3
- Glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which checks kidney function
- Urine albumin-creatinine ratio (ACR), which checks for kidney damage
These tests can detect signs of kidney damage in high-risk people. If there is kidney damage, these people can start treatment and start making certain lifestyle changes to help protect their kidneys moving forward.3
How to get involved
There are many ways you can get involved in raising awareness about CKD. But if you have CKD yourself, getting started might feel overwhelming. Here are some things you can begin with:
- Do what you enjoy. Find advocacy efforts that fit your personality. Sharing your story is one option. Or you may prefer to stay private and work behind the scenes. Either way, do what resonates with you.
- Focus on self-care. While raising awareness is important, your health should still come first. Sometimes, your health, treatments, or energy require you to say no to getting involved in advocacy activities. That is okay.
- Keep learning. Stay up to date on research and developments for CKD. Being informed helps you ask the right questions. It allows you to weigh the pros and cons of suggested treatments and therapies. You can also find out about other options for managing the disease or clinical trials you may qualify for.
Expand your network
Raising awareness for early CKD diagnosis connects you with others who either live with the condition or are caregivers of someone with the disease.
Social media platforms can be a great first step in making connections. Follow #kidneystrong for tons of content related to CKD. There are public and private groups where you can engage based on your comfort level.
Consider following spokespeople, nonprofits, or kidney disease experts for reliable information. Here are a few to get you started:4
- National Kidney Foundation
- American Society of Nephrology
- American Kidney Fund
- American Renal Associates
- Renal Support Network
- The Kidney Transplant Dialysis Association
Use your creativity
There are endless options for getting involved. Donate the proceeds of a fundraiser to research. Send a gift of comfort to someone who is newly diagnosed. Help people who are at high risk get screened. Lobby government officials for more research and funding. Each person can make a difference, including you.
Why is raising awareness important?
Living with CKD can be hard. But joining advocacy efforts gives you a focus beyond managing the disease. Finding ways to impact the lives of others can give you a sense of renewed purpose.