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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Improving the understanding, detection, and management of kidney disease.

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What African Americans Need to Know

  • Early kidney disease has no signs or symptoms. The only way to know if you have kidney disease is to get checked for it.
  • Kidney disease often does not go away. It may get worse over time and can lead to kidney failure. You will need to go on dialysis or have a kidney transplant if your kidneys fail.
  • Kidney disease can be treated. The sooner you know you have kidney disease, the sooner you can start treatment to help delay or prevent kidney failure.

Learn more about why you should be checked for kidney disease and what can be done to keep your kidneys healthy. (PDF)

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The American Diabetes Association's Project POWER Helps Faith Communities Take Charge of their Diabetes and Kidney Health

In recognition of National Kidney Month in March, the National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP) is again partnering with the American Diabetes Association's (ADA) Project POWER to educate African Americans about how diabetes may lead to kidney disease and the importance of getting tested.

Project POWER is a faith-based program that provides congregations with information to help improve the health of members with diabetes and their families. Earnestine Walker, Director of African American Initiatives, is leading ADA's partnership with NKDEP to help faith communities make the kidney connection.

African Americans are nearly four times more likely than Caucasians to develop kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to live healthier longer.

"Since African Americans with type 2 diabetes are also at high risk for kidney failure... it's important for people to be aware and know the signs and symptoms of kidney disease," said Walker.

Project POWER's outreach programs help raise awareness about the link between diabetes and kidney disease, which ranks low on national survey's of African Americans health concerns. "It is extremely helpful for us to work with the National Kidney Disease Education Program in March, in conjunction with Diabetes Alert Day, to educate our faith communities about the importance of getting checked," said Walker.

To help NKDEP execute the National Kidney Sundays event, Project POWER and health screening partner, Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc., will lead kidney and diabetes health sessions in participating congregations

"Working with Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc. brings value because they provide high blood pressure screenings; this helps to make the program real for many of our faith communities," said Walker. "When they hear the message and get screened, they begin to fully understand their potential risk. "For many, this may be their first time learning about their risk for kidney disease."

This year, the National Kidney Sundays event will take place on March 3, 2013 in more than ten cities across the country, including:

If you'd like to learn more about the Kidney Sundays program and want to get your faith community involved, visit http://nkdep.nih.gov/get-involved/kidney-connection/kidney-sundays.shtml to download the Kidney Sundays Toolkit and email nkdep@info.niddk.nih.gov.

To learn more about Project POWER you can visit http://www.diabetes.org/in-my-community/awareness-programs/african-american-programs/project-power.html or call 1-800-Diabetes.

For additional information on diabetes, please visit http://www.ndep.nih.gov/.

Page last updated: February 6, 2013