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Kidney Foundation spreading the word on early detection

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. _ The National Kidney Foundation has launched a new radio and TV public service campaign in English and Spanish designed to raise awareness of chronic kidney disease and its complications.

The Foundation says 20 million _ or 1 in 9 _ Americans actually have chronic kidney disease and most don't know it.

The lack of symptoms for early kidney disease and the failure to get tested if you are at risk are the causes. The campaign points out that most people would not realize if they were missing half of their kidney function.

"The earliest sign of kidney disease is often a very small amount of protein in the urine that cannot be detected unless the urine is tested," says Dr. David Warnock, president of the National Kidney Foundation and director of nephrology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

"We now know that early detection and treatment, including diet and medication, can slow down the progression of kidney disease and its complications and prevent further damage, in some cases," he said in a Foundation press release.

If you have high blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of kidney disease, you are at risk, according to the Foundation, and should get tested for kidney disease with blood and urine tests. African-Americans are particularly hard hit by kidney disease because of their high rate of high blood pressure and diabetes, the leading causes of kidney disease. Others at risk: American Indians, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders and those over 60.

The National Kidney Foundation is a voluntary health organization that seeks to prevent kidney and urinary tract diseases, improve the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases and increase the availability of all organs for transplantation. To learn more visit

Carolyn Susman writes for The Palm Beach Post.

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