Published on March 7, 2022 | Every March, we recognize the importance of kidney health. It’s a time dedicated to raising awareness, sharing education, and advocating for kidney health equity. For National Kidney Month 2022, we’re sharing resources and initiatives focused on all things kidney health.
World Kidney Day
One in 10 adults is afflicted by chronic kidney disease (CKD). While early detection can help prevent morbidity and mortality, kidney disease-related mortality continues to increase annually. By 2040, it’s projected to be the fifth leading cause of death. For 2022, the World Kidney Day Joint Steering Committee designated this the year of “Kidney Health for All.” They’re highlighting the importance of increasing education and awareness about kidney health. By increasing knowledge and closing healthcare gaps, we can provide better kidney care and patient outcomes for everyone. This year, World Kidney Day falls on Thursday, March 10.
National Kidney Month 2022 Education
PKD is an equal opportunity disease and equitable kidney care is a key focus here at the PKD Foundation. In order to provide more inclusive support, we launched the Peer Ambassadors program this year. Its goal is to engage new audiences with culturally, linguistically relevant programs and content and increase education and awareness around PKD. The program will also connect currently underserved communities to the PKD community at large. We know gaps in kidney treatment and care disproportionately affect Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino populations and we’re working to close that gap.
In order to create better patient outcomes, more comprehensive education is needed. We’re committed to providing free patient education in multiple ways. Whether you’re new to PKD or not, our resource page makes things easy to find by topic. For those wanting something interactive, look no further than the PKD Connect Conference. Free to attend this year, this virtual conference connects patients, families, physicians, and researchers to educate the PKD community. In 2021, PKDCON reached a new attendance record—over 1,600!
National Kidney Month 2022 Self-Advocacy
National Kidney Month 2022 is a perfect time to read our PKD magazine, PKD Life, which is free to the PKD community. This magazine provides education, shared perspectives, and the tools to advocate for yourself or a loved one.
“What Nephrology Nurses Wish You Knew”
In our fall 2020 issue, you’ll find tips from nurses in nephrology. These words of wisdom are great to share with friends, family, and members of your local PKD community.
“When I’m seeing new patients, I tell them you cannot believe everything you read on the internet. If you can’t find it on the PKD Foundation website, then check with your physician. You don’t want to start vitamins, exercise programs, or funky diets without making sure that there’s solid science behind them.”
“It’s really important to have an open line of communication with a PKD specialist. For one thing, there are treatment methods available now that weren’t available in the past. And when problems do happen, it’s easier to mitigate the damage before it goes too far.”
“Many people don’t realize how much work and how long it takes to get a kidney transplant. I’ve met so many patients who wished they were referred sooner to a nephrologist and for a transplant evaluation.”
“Communicating With Your Healthcare Team”
In our fall 2021 issue, you’ll learn helpful ways to communicate with your healthcare team.
Before you visit the doctor, write down any questions or concerns you may have to take with you to your appointment. Use this list to guide your conversation, and write down the answers if you need to. If you don’t understand something, tell the healthcare team that you need further explanation.
It’s vital to establish an open and honest line of communication between the two parties. It’s important that you understand how your healthcare team prefers to be communicated with so you can receive the most rapid response. This may be as simple as calling their office or sending messages through the electronic patient portal.
When you have polycystic kidney disease, you often have several different doctors taking care of you. It can be confusing to determine who to ask which questions. Therefore, it’s important to have your healthcare team anchored by a PKD specialist/nephrologist and primary care physician. Use these two doctors’ offices to help you triage which questions need to be asked to other members of your healthcare team when you are not sure.
How to Get Involved During National Kidney Month 2022
With National Kidney Month 2022, there are countless ways you can get involved. By visiting our Kidney Month page, you’ll find facts to share on social, a Facebook cover image, and links to PKD Foundation programs. A powerful way to spread awareness is by sharing your story through Voices of PKD. Members of our Advocacy Champions Network can attest to the impact sharing your story has on awareness of polycystic kidney disease.
Whether it’s posting facts on your social media or learning how to advocate for yourself and loved ones, you can make a difference during National Kidney Month.