World Kidney Day awareness campaign
March is National Kidney Month and Thursday, March 8, is World Kidney Day. And in honor of that, Nicole Scharf, the Associate Executive Director for the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Southern Delaware, stopped by 47 ABC to talk about the awareness campaign.
Scharf says one of the biggest common misconceptions about kidney disease is that it only affects older people or African-Americans. "Kidney disease doesn't discriminate. We've got children, we have infants that were born without kidneys right here on the Eastern Shore, right here in our counties. And we have kids that need dialysis, we have young people, people in their 20's, their 30's. It doesn't discriminate. It affects a lot of people," Scharf said.
She also says the two biggest risk factors are high blood pressure and diabetes. "You can go right to your primary care physician to get checked. The National Kidney Foundation, we do screenings all year long that are completely free to the public, where we will do a simple blood test to see if you're at risk for kidney disease," Scharf said.
"Kidney disease is a scary thing. It's hard to talk about transplant. It's hard for people to ask people for a kidney to be donated to them. That's a really hard thing for somebody to do. So the more we can educate the public and talks about those things," Scharf said.
"There's a real shortage of living donors in the U.S. And out of the 100,000 people waiting to get an organ transplanted, 97 percent of those people are waiting for a kidney. So we've got to talk about it. We've got to find more living donors because we know that if you get a donor that's living, that kidney will probably last longer than a deceased donor."
To sign up to be a donor go to the National Kidney Foundation website.
The National Kidney Foundation Serving Maryland and Delaware will hold a KEY (Kidneys: Evaluate Yours) screening at the Fresenius Kidney Care’s Manage Kidney Disease From Home special event. That screening will be on Sunday, March 11, from 3 PM to 6 PM, at The Fountains Wedding and Conference Center, which is at 1800 Sweetbay Drive in Salisbury.
As part of NKF’s mission of early detection and early intervention, KEY screenings identify early markers for high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease.
No appointments are needed for the screening and any adult can participate. The screening last about 20 minutes and include blood pressure and weight checks, as well as counseling with a doctor and dietitian. Those needing to have their blood sugar and kidney function checked may have blood tests. Fasting is not required to participate.
Admission to the Manage Kidney Disease From Home event is free, but RSVPs are required by contacting Joanne at 302-521-5923. For more information about upcoming NKF screenings and outreach events, visit www.kidneymd.org or call 410-726-8732 to speak with Nicole Scharf.