This weekend, NBC4 is hosting the Health and Fitness Expo 2011, an event that is held each January at the Washington Convention Center. The Expo is a free event that promotes awareness, education, and prevention of serious health issues facing Americans today. There are expected to be almost 200 exhibitors over the weekend. Among them will be; 100 Black Men of Greater Washington, DC, Inc., American Association of Diabetes Educators, American Heart Association, Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, American Kidney Fund, and the National Kidney Foundation.
One area of focus will be on chronic kidney disease (CKD), a disease that damages the kidneys and diminishes their ability to function properly. About 26 million Americans suffer from CKD and another 20 million are at risk. When kidney disease progresses to CKD, it possibly will lead to kidney failure. At this stage, dialysis or a kidney transplant will be vital to sustain life. The two main causes of CKD are diabetes and high blood pressure, which are accountable for 2/3 of the cases.
This should be very important to the African American community, since diabetes and high blood pressure are widespread within it. African Americans lead the way for at risk groups. According to the National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP), African Americans make up 12% of the population, but account for 32% of the people with kidney failure. Among new patients whose kidney failure was caused by high blood pressure, 51.2% are African American. The NKDEP also states that black men ages 20-29 are 10 times more likely to develop kidney failure due to high blood pressure than Caucasian men in the same age group. Black men ages 30-39 are 14 times more likely to develop kidney failure due to high blood pressure than Caucasian men in the same age group.
Adequate services will be provided at the Expo, including free Kidney Health Risk Assessments(KHRA). The KHRA test persons for high risk factors associated with chronic kidney disease, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The assessment includes blood pressure, body mass index and a brief risk questionnaire. For those recognized with risk factors for kidney disease, the National Kidney Foundation offers information on an upcoming Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP), free of charge. KEEP is a screening program that includes a complete health risk evaluation, blood pressure measurement, blood and urine testing and consultation with an onsite clinician.
It is important for African Americans to take advantage of this opportunity, especially if there is a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure and/or kidney disease. Do not wait until it’s too late.