To the Editor,
In 2004, I wasn’t feeling well and went to the doctor, only to find out that my kidneys weren’t working. I began dialysis immediately and was put on the waiting list for a transplant. This was the toughest thing I ever went through in my life, and I want to help others avoid what I went through.
Over 26 million Americans have chronic kidney disease (CKD), yet only 10 percent are aware they have it.
There are more than 450,000 people in the U.S. on dialysis for kidney failure, and Medicare spends more than $87 billion on the care of people with CKD. Investment in research and programs to improve early detection, slow the progression of kidney disease and improve access to kidney transplantation is a cost-effective strategy to improve lives and lower health care costs.
While Medicare does not require annual approval by Congress, each year federal funding for other kidney disease programs must be appropriated by Congress. Important work is being done at the CDC, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the Health Services and Resource Administration to advance kidney disease research and improve access to kidney transplantation. However, this work cannot continue or grow without the continued support of our elected representatives.
I hope your readers will ask their members of Congress to expand federal research to save lives, kidneys and money. They can add their voices to the cause by reaching out to their congressional representatives at www.kidney.org/takeaction.
Kidney Action Committee
Powder Springs, Ga.