March is National Kidney Month, Get Involved!

March is National Kidney Month! This month is about raising awareness for and education of kidney diseases, alongside improving research and outcomes for kidney disease patients.

The Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Foundation has highlighted some ways you can get involve in National Kidney Month 2022.

National Kidney Month

One in every 10 adults is diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD), and kidney disease related death increases every year.

But these numbers do not account for everyone affected by a rare kidney disease. While less common, conditions such as IgA nephropathy, atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome, cystinosis, and autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease also affect many patients across the world.

The 2022 theme for World Kidney Day is Kidney Health for All. The hope is that by increasing advocacy efforts, awareness, and education for all forms of kidney disease (rare and common alike), outcomes and care will be improved for everyone.

As a part of this effort, the PKD Foundation started the Peer Ambassadors Program this year which aims to connect with underserved communities and engage with new audiences by implementing culturally and linguistically relevant content and programs. Currently, Black and Hispanic populations face disproportionate gaps in care. Programs like this aim to close the gap.

Self-Advocacy

The PKD Foundation stresses that this month is a perfect opportunity to work on self-advocacy.

The Foundation has a free magazine called PKD Life which shares advocacy tools, educational resources, and perspectives from kidney disease patients.

The Fall 2020 issue specifically shares tips from nephrology nurses. They discuss fostering open lines of communication with your care team, discussing any new treatments with your doctor before starting something you read online, and the realities of what it’s like to go through a transplant evaluation.

The Fall 2021 issue shared ways to have a better relationship with your care team. Writing down your questions and concerns before your appointment can be helpful to ensure you don’t forget to ask something while you’re there. Don’t hesitate to ask for further clarification if you’re told something you don’t quite understand. Additionally, it’s helpful to have your care team led by a nephrologist and PCP.

General Advocacy

There are so many ways you can advocate for kidney disease awareness! You can visit the Foundation’s Kidney month webpage which lays out various kidney facts you can share on social media. You can also share your own story via Voices of PKD.

You can also work to increase your own education. The PKD Foundation offers many free educational resources. They even have a free PKD Connect Conference. This is a virtual conference which works to educate the community and connect families, researchers, patients, and physicians together. This year, there were over 1600 in attendance.

You can read more about National Kidney Month and how you can participate here!

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