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Honoring Kidney Disease Awareness Month with the Kidney Mobile

Kidney MobileIn honor of March’s Kidney Disease Awareness Month, Weiss teamed up with the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois to bring free kidney health screenings to the Uptown community. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. one Wednesday in mid-March, the Kidney Mobile sat parked in front of Weiss, serving as an educational museum exhibit on kidney health while inside the hospital, nurses and technicians set up booths for screenings.

Affecting more than 26 million Americans, kidney disease can easily turn lethal. When the kidneys fail to function properly, salt and water accumulate throughout the body, leading to swollen ankles and putting more pressure on the veins and arteries leading to and from the heart. People also develop electrolyte abnormalities and muscle waste accumulation. Dr. Neil Soifer, nephrologist, calls kidney disease a “silent killer,” because “usually people don’t get sick from waste levels.”

Common symptoms include a bad taste in the mouth and itching. Protein in the urine is the earliest measurable indicator of a problem, and a marker that reflects abnormal vascular function. Other side effects include anemia, bone disease and a very strong link to cardiovascular disease, which puts people at higher risk for strokes and heart attacks.

Nurses and technicians helped with screenings.
Nurses and technicians helped with screenings.

The screenings included measurements for blood pressure, blood sugar, body mass index and waist circumference.

To help us learn more about kidney disease, the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois shared these vital facts:

  1. The incidence of kidney failure, or end stage renal disease (ESRD), is rising fast, with more than 546,000 Americans currently receiving treatment. This includes more than 381,000 dialysis patients and 165,000 people with functioning kidney transplants.
  2. Of the more than 110,000 Americans currently awaiting organ transplants, 87,000 are waiting for a kidney.
  3. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44 percent of the new cases. Nearly 215,000 people are living with kidney failure resulting from diabetes.
  4. Uncontrolled or poorly controlled high blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure in the country, accounting for 26 percent of all cases.
  5. The third and fourth leading causes of kidney failure in the U.S. are glomerulonephritis, an inflammatory disease of the kidneys, and polycystic kidney disease.
  6. CKD hits minorities disproportionately, with African Americans affected at a rate of nearly three times that of Caucasians as the number of new cases of kidney failure per million is 783 for African Americans and 295 for whites.  Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans and the elderly are also at increased risk.
  7. Each year, more than 88,000 Americans die from causes related to kidney failure.
  8. Premature death from cardiovascular disease is higher in adults with CKD compared to adults without CKD. In fact, individuals with CKD are 16 to 40 times more likely to die than to reach kidney failure.
  9. CKD continues to be a major cause of lost productivity, physician visits and hospitalizations among men and women.

For more information, contact the national Kidney Foundation of Illinois at (312) 321-1500 or visit

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