Florida Department of Health Recognizes National Kidney Month

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The Florida Department of Health (DOH) recognizes March as National Kidney Month, an observance held by the National Kidney Foundation to raise awareness about kidney failure, and urge early screening for the disease. In conjunction with this, March 27 is American Diabetes Alert Day, a reminder to all individuals to address diabetes, the most common cause of kidney failure.

"Every Floridian should know their risk for diabetes and kidney disease and receive regular screenings," DOH Secretary Ana M. Viamonte Ros, M.D., M.P.H. said. "These methods of prevention can help control the course of kidney disease through early intervention."

Kidney failure is a serious condition in which the kidneys do not rid waste products from the blood. Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure, accounting for approximately 17 million cases nationwide, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. In Florida, incident rates of kidney failure due to diabetes have been steadily increasing since 1994.

Factors such as diet, high blood pressure and genetics can lead to diabetes-related kidney disease. High blood pressure and high levels of blood glucose increase the risk that a person with diabetes will progress to kidney failure.

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According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, several "Good Care" practices for people who do have diabetes include asking your doctor or health care professional to:

Measure A1C levels at least twice a year.
Test blood and urine for kidney disease.
Prescribe ACE-Inhibitors (ARBs) if the tests show kidney disease.
Check blood pressure several times a year.
Make a plan of small steps to control diabetes (A1C less than 7) and control blood pressure (less than 130 over 80).

Additional recommendations from the Department of Health and the National Kidney Foundation include not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and participating in daily physical activity.

For more information about kidney disease and diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association at http://www.diabetes.org/home.jsp, or the National Kidney Foundation at http://www.kidney.org/

For more information about diabetes, please visit the department's web site at www.doh.state.fl.us and select "Diabetes Prevention and Control Program" from the drop down box.

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