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Start spring off with healthier kidneys

National Kidney Month

National Kidney Month

When: March 1 – 31

What: Did you know that your kidneys filter 200 liters of blood each day, removing toxins, drugs and waste while keeping your hydration, electrolytes and minerals in balance? It’s no wonder that doctors have dubbed the organ pair “Master Chemists of the Body.” In honor of our kidneys’ function, learn how to keep this multitasking organ healthy in March during National Kidney Month.

Background: According to the National Kidney Foundation, over 26 million Americans exhibit signs of kidney disease, but most do not even know it. The National Kidney Foundation holds National Kidney Month every March to raise the public’s awareness of kidney disease, kidney health and the country’s dire need for kidney donors.

Story Pitch: Health care and pharmaceutical companies can pitch around this day, as can any company offering healthy products or smart lifestyle choices. Schools and educational institutions can also use the day to teach community members about kidney health.

The Story Hook: Prominent “30 Rock” actor Grizzwald Chapman recently revealed that his hypertension developed into kidney disease, and he is now on a five-year waiting list for a kidney transplant. Sadly, his story is all too common: kidney disease often goes undetected in its early stages because it frequently poses no symptoms, often as a consequence of other health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure. In its later stages, a kidney transplant can become the only way to vanquish the disease. Consider the following before making your pitch:

  • If discovered early, kidney disease can be treatable without dialysis or transplantation. Where can people find information on free screenings offered in their communities?
  • When should children be educated about the importance of kidney health? Where can educators find age-appropriate kidney information for their young students?
  • Kidney transplants are the only cure for many diagnosed with the disease. Meanwhile, 18 people die each day while waiting for a transplant. What might motivate someone to donate a kidney to a stranger?
  • According to the National Kidney Disease Education Program, African-Americans are disproportionately affected by kidney disease and kidney failure. How can communities work to reduce these numbers?

Tips: When making your pitch, provide the information for a kidney donor-recipient pair to add a human interest component to the story.

Resources:

American Association of Kidney Patients
(813) 636-8100
info(at)aakp.org
www.aakp.org

PKD Foundation
(816) 931-2600
pkdcure(at) pkdcure.org
www.pkdcure.org

National Kidney Foundation
(212) 889-2210
www.kidney.org

National Kidney Disease Education Program
(866) 454-3639
nkdep(at)info.niddk.nih.gov
http://nkdep.nih.gov/index.htm

–Researched, compiled & written by Marissa Maybee
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