Chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States and represent a substantial public health burden. To help patients at varying levels of health literacy understand the connection between kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) launched an educational animated video series. Five patient friendly videos, each ranging from about one and a half to two and a half minutes, are available in both English and Spanish to help patients from diverse backgrounds understand these conditions and how they each relate to one another.
Each of these diseases are serious illnesses on their own, but when patients cope with multiple diseases the impact on their health is even greater. These chronic diseases share the same risk factors too – high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar (diabetes), obesity, and family history. If you can prevent or manage one chronic disease, that will help you prevent or manage the others.
For instance, if you have diabetes that means your body either doesn’t make enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or your body produces insulin, but the cells don’t respond the way they should, which is insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes). Both types of diabetes can damage your small blood vessels. When the blood vessels in your kidneys are injured, your kidneys cannot clean your blood properly which can lead to kidney disease. If you have kidney disease, then you’re at higher risk for heart disease and if you have heart disease, you’re at higher risk for kidney disease. According to data from the Third National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES), patients with kidney disease and diabetes were three times more likely to die of heart related causes than those with diabetes alone.
“About 1 in 3 Americans are at risk for kidney disease in the U.S., yet most Americans living with chronic diseases like diabetes do not understand they are at risk,” said Joseph Vassalotti, MD, Chief Medical Officer for the National Kidney Foundation. “Developing these animated educational videos is our way of helping patients understand their individual risk for kidney disease. Importantly, we can then empower individuals to become engaged participants in their kidney disease care to improve outcomes.”
Topics for each animated video include the following: Introduction to chronic kidney disease: what it is, who develops it, and possible causes/risk factors; introduction to chronic cardiovascular disease: what it is, who develops it and possible causes/risk factors; introduction to diabetes: what it is, how it affects your body and possible causes/risk factors; Overview on all three chronic diseases: what each disease is and how they are all connected as well as possible causes/risk factors; Overview on prevention and management: how to prevent and manage all three chronic diseases.
This five-part educational animated video series was supported by Merck, Bayer, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Lilly and Novo Nordisk.
Kidney Disease Facts
In the United States, 37 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and approximately 90 percent don’t know they have it. 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. are at risk for chronic kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and family history. People of Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. Blacks or African Americans are almost 4 times more likely than White Americans to have kidney failure. Hispanics are 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanics to have kidney failure.
Approximately 785,000 Americans have irreversible kidney failure and need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. More than 555,000 of these patients receive dialysis to replace kidney function and 230,000 live with a transplant. Nearly 100,000 Americans are on the waitlist for a kidney transplant right now. Depending on where a patient lives, the average wait time for a kidney transplant can be upwards of three to seven years.