Kidney Disease Detection Saves Lives—and Money

Kidney Disease Detection Saves Lives—and Money

During National Kidney Month in March, and in honor of World Kidney Day on March 14, BCBSTX is excited to partner with the Texas Kidney Foundation  (TKF), one of our Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® (HKHF) grant awardees. 

Currently, one in seven U.S. adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition in which your kidneys don’t work as well as they should. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, an estimated 11.4 percent of adults in Texas had diabetes and 7.5 percent had prediabetes, which are both leading indicators that someone will develop CKD. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 9.1 percent of adults in Kerr County had diabetes. They also projected that the number of Americans with diabetes will double or triple by 2050.  

There are no obvious symptoms with early CKD, so many people aren’t diagnosed until it is advanced. That’s why the Texas Kidney Foundation  (TKF) launched the Kidney C.A.R.E (Clinician and Adult Renal Education) awareness campaign in partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX). Under the Kidney C.A.R.E. campaign, we conduct free Texas Kidney Check Screenings that test for leading indicators of CKD.  

In 2018, TKF screened 5,477 participants. During these screenings, the organization identified two or more indicators of CKD in 56 percent of those screened. If these screenings helped the identified participants from developing stage five renal disease, it would save Texas taxpayers nearly $273 million per year. CKD costs $94 billion a year nationally and $5 billion a year in Texas.  

There is no cure for CKD. One in seven individuals is walking around in some stage of CKD and does not know it. The Kidney C.A.R.E. Awareness campaign helps prevent or slow the progression of CKD by educating our community on how to take care of their kidneys.  

If you have diabetes, hypertension or a history of CKD in your family, you should come to one of the TKF’s free screenings and have your kidneys checked. There is a nurse present to help you understand your results and educate you on next steps. You will be given a copy of your results to take with you and keep for your records or discuss with your physician. 

The TKF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the early detection, education and support of CKD. The mission of the TKF is to improve the health and well-being of people at risk or affected by kidney disease, through education, prevention and support by increasing organ donation and transplantation. The TKF’s vision is to become a positive regional collaborative force in bringing kidney awareness, education and prevention resources to a community disproportionately hit by this devastating disease.   

TKF offers many events to the community, providing education for doctors, nurses, social workers and patients. On April 25 and 26, TKF will host their Kidney C.A.R.E. Spring Symposium, offering cutting edge topics and speakers. If you would like to learn more about the Texas Kidney Foundation, the Kidney C.A.R.E. campaign or the Spring Symposium, please visit new window or call 210-396-8440. 

Kidney C.A.R.E screening

In early 2019, Mwinsognuor Bekuones drove nearly 2 and a half hours from Houston just to get his free Kidney C.A.R.E. screening with the TKF. It is important for people with diabetes to have annual testing for kidney disease. This test is especially important if you are at increased risk for CKD because of diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of these conditions. GFR (glomerular filtration rate) is the best measure of kidney function. These weekly screenings are made possible through the TKF’s partnership with BCBSTX.  

Caption: TKF staff member Esmerelda Guerra assists Mwinsognuor Bekuones at his Kidney C.A.R.E. screening. He drove nearly two and a half hours to get his kidney health checked!