Many people are unaware that diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney disease, even though they take care of loved ones with these conditions, according to an American Kidney Fund survey. The online survey targeted a nationally representative sample of Americans, ages 35-65, who take care of loved ones when they are sick or have special medical needs. The survey revealed a lack of knowledge about the leading causes of kidney disease, exposed key challenges to leading healthy lifestyles and underscored motivating factors that could be instrumental in changing health behaviors.
- Most (85%) could not name high blood pressure as a leading cause of kidney disease. The majority of all respondents (74%) have a loved one with high blood pressure
- More than two-thirds (69%) could not name diabetes as a leading cause of kidney disease, despite the fact that 55% of respondents have a loved one with diabetes
- More than two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents who have personally been diagnosed with high blood pressure or diabetes said they have not been told by a doctor that they are at risk for kidney disease. One in four said their doctor has not tested how well their kidneys are working.
- Despite a high concern for their health and the health of loved ones, most fall short of leading healthy lifestyles
- Nearly all respondents (94%) said they are concerned about the health of their loved ones and 80% said they believe they should take better care of their own health
- More than half (59%) said they wish their significant other would take better care of his or her health
- About half (45%) said they don’t have time to prepare healthy meals every day and (48%) confess to snacking on junk food several times a week
- More than half (52%) exercise two hours or less a week.
- About 1 in 4 (24%) have not had a health exam in the past 12 months
Respondents who feel that they could take better care of their health cite a variety of barriers to doing so, including:
- Financial resources: 48%
- Lack of access to health information: 39%
- Lack of time: 37%
At the conclusion of the survey, participants were informed that diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading risk factors for kidney disease. Upon learning this information, most said they were motivated to make important health changes:
- The majority (84%) say that they are likely to encourage loved ones with diabetes or high blood pressure to learn more about their risks for kidney disease. Even more (86%) are likely to encourage loved ones with diabetes or high blood pressure to get a health check-up
- Most (73%) said they plan to change their health habits to help prevent kidney disease
- Nearly two-thirds (62%) said they will look online for information about kidney disease and talk to their own doctor (61%)
The American Kidney Fund has launched a new campaign, Pair Up, to encourage women to take two simple actions: learn if they’re at risk for kidney disease; and spread the word about kidney disease to loved ones who also may be at risk.