World Kidney Day 2014 Highlights CKD and Aging

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Mark your calendars for World Kidney Day on March 13, 2014. Celebrated on the second Thursday of March every year, World Kidney Day is a joint initiative of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF) to raise awareness about kidney disease. World Kidney Day started in 2006 and highlights a different theme every year. This year’s theme is “Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and Aging.”

The older adult population is rapidly growing. More than 40 million Americans are over 65 today compared to 25 million in 1980. Furthermore, nearly half of those who are 70 or older have kidney disease. Patients with CKD usually require complicated medication routines, difficult dietary restrictions, and frequent medical visits. They are also more likely to have multiple comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. As age and disease progress, frailty becomes an issue.

All of these issues combine to make the care of older adults much more difficult than the care of younger patients, which is why ASN is commemorating World Kidney Day by releasing a suite of informational resources to increase understanding about kidney health in older adults and managing their care.

The ASN CKD Advisory Group developed a video for primary care physicians that reviews these issues. The video features CKD Advisory Group Member Deidra C. Crews, MD, FASN, and Alicia I. Arbaje, MD, from Johns Hopkins University addressing a number of topics, including screenings, interpretation of lab reports, specialist referrals, drug safety issues, monitoring treatment, and helping patients and families manage complex medical regimens.

The ASN Geriatric Nephrology Advisory Group also developed information for older adults to help them understand kidney disease and their care options. This information, slated for national release through a number of media outlets, will help older adults learn what kidney disease is, how a kidney disease diagnosis might impact their lives, and help guide them toward the right questions to ask about maintaining kidney health and options in the event of kidney failure.

Recognizing the importance of this issue, the Geriatric Nephrology Advisory Group recently updated a complementary online curriculum for providers that is currently available on the ASN website at www.asn-online.org. The Geriatric Nephrology Advisory Group also released a complementary video series for providers in 2012 that focuses on improving dialysis rounds for older adults. The curriculum and videos—available at www.asnrounds.org–are part of ASN’s continued efforts to promote the highest quality care for patients, including older adults.

March 2014 (Vol. 6, Number 3)