Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage Legislation Introduced

E-Kidney Newsletter October 2009

Health Care Reform and the Kidney Community

Congress continues to move forward on health care and insurance reforms. The NKF has not endorsed any bill, but we do support many of the elements in the bills to increase access to health care and improve the quality of care. These include provisions affecting the ability of those with chronic disease to obtain health insurance and the extension of immunosuppressive drug coverage for transplant recipients

You can support our legislative agenda by joining the NKF People Like Us Take Action Network. Learn more about the bills and issues, contact your Member of Congress and sign up at www.kidney.org/takeaction.

 

 

Simple TestsSimple Tests Can Be Life-Saving

Most Americans know that heart disease and cancer can be silent killers and understand that monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol are critical to protecting their health. Too few realize, that chronic kidney disease (CKD) is another common, life-threatening illness that often goes undetected until very advanced when it could be diagnosed early through simple tests. Click here for more information on the tests and what your scores indicate about your kidney health.

Sign up for a NKF screening through the Kidney Early Evaluation Program

 

 

Dopamine May Improve Kidney Transplant Success from Brain-Dead Donors

Administering the neurotransmitter dopamine to brain-dead organ donors may help safeguard the quality of their kidneys for more successful transplantation, according to a study published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The majority of transplanted kidneys are recovered from donors who have suffered brain death, yet whose hearts are still beating. This puts their organs at risk for serious damage and increases the chance of a recipient needing dialysis after the transplant surgery.

To find out more about this research click here

 

KEEPing Healthy Through Early Detection

Rosalie Swick thought her heart would break when she had to give up riding her motorcycle after an accident left her with a back injury a few years ago. "I felt such freedom on my motorcycle," the 66-year-old retiree says wistfully of traveling in and around her hometown hamlet of Findlay, Ohio. "But that was nothing next to what happened to me this year when I was feeling so weak I could barely walk."

Doctors at the local hospital told Swick there was "absolutely nothing wrong," despite three EKGs and her reports of frightening fatigue and unusual lower back pain. That's when a dear friend, who had read in the local newspaper about NKF's free health screening through the Kidney Early Evaluation ProgramTM , took Swick on a 100-mile trip that saved her life.

For the rest of this story click here and to find a KEEP screening near you click here. Click here for NY Times columnist Jane Brody's story on KEEP.

 

Walk the Kidney Walk this Fall

A short walk could help someone take a lifesaving step. Click on the picture below to learn more about the Kidney Walks, being held in cities across the country. Forward the link on to friends, colleagues and family. Or visit www.kidneywalk.org to sign up for a walk near you.

 

 

The Kidney Kitchen Takes a Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

You'll see them in farm stands, storefronts and on doorsteps around the neighborhood this month, so why not bring some pumpkin to the dinner table? This Pumpkin Maple Custard recipe from the Kidney Kitchen is a kidney-healthy alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie.

 

 

 

 

"Love Your Kidneys" All Around Town

Every time you bring your books to class, your sweats to the gym or your boots to work, help spread the word about kidney health with the attractive, new "Love Your Kidneys" drawstring bag

At just $5 for NKF members and $8 for non-members, this durable, lightweight bag makes for a great gift for the kidney-lovers in your life. To purchase this or other "Love Your Kidneys" and NKF items visit the NKF Store

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Tests Can Be Life-SavingSimple Tests

Most Americans know that heart disease and cancer can be silent killers and understand that monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol are critical to protecting their health. Too few realize, that chronic kidney disease (CKD) is another common, life-threatening illness that often goes undetected until very advanced when it could be diagnosed early through simple tests.

More than 26 million Americans suffer from CKD and millions more are at risk. Today's epidemics of diabetes and obesity could contribute to even higher rates of CKD in the future. Undiagnosed and untreated, CKD can lead to serious health problems including kidney failure. Caught early, it can often be managed, and kidney damage can be slowed or stopped. That's why early testing for people at risk is so important. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney failure, you're at risk and should ask your doctor about the simple tests for kidney function

What: Blood Pressure
Why: High blood pressure can damage small blood vessels (glomeruli) in the kidneys. It is the second-leading cause of kidney failure after diabetes. Good Score:Below 140/90 is good for most people. Below 130/80 is better if you have chronic kidney disease. Below 120/80 is best.

What: Protein in Urine
Why: Traces of a type of protein, albumin in urine (albuminuria) is an early sign of CKD. Persistent amounts of albumin and other proteins in the urine (proteinuria) indicate kidney damage. Good Score:Less than 30 mg of albumin per gram of urinary creatinine (a normal waste product)

What: Creatinine in Blood (Serum Creatinine)
Why: Healthy kidneys filter creatinine (a waste product from muscle activity) out of the blood. When kidney function is reduced, creatinine levels rise. Good Score: 0.6 to 1.2 mg per deciliter of blood, depending on other variables

What: Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)
Why: This is the most sensitive and accurate gauge of kidney function. Doctors measure blood creatinine levels and perform a calculation based on age, race, and gender. Good Score: Over 90 is good. 60-89 should be monitored. Less than 60 for 3 months indicates CKD.

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Walk the Kidney Walk this Fall

 

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KEEPing Healthy Through Early Detection

Rosalie Swick thought her heart would break when she had to give up riding her motorcycle after an accident left her with a back injury a few years ago. "I felt such freedom on my motorcycle," the 66-year-old retiree says wistfully of traveling in and around her hometown hamlet of Findlay, Ohio. "But that was nothing next to what happened to me this year when I was feeling so weak I could barely walk."

Doctors at the local hospital told Swick there was "absolutely nothing wrong," despite three EKGs and her reports of frightening fatigue and unusual lower back pain. That's when a dear friend, who had read in the local newspaper about NKF's free health screening through the Kidney Early Evaluation ProgramTM , took Swick on a 100-mile trip that saved her life.

To find a KEEP screening near you click here. Click here for NY Times columnist Jane Brody's story on KEEP.

When she saw the line of people waiting for the free examination, Swick wanted to turn around and go home. "I thought it would take forever, but the KEEP people were organized and handled us all," Swick says. "I'm not easily impressed, but the KEEP people were fantastic, and smart too."

Swick is also grateful to her physician, Dr. John Biery, who sent her right to a cardiologist when he received the KEEP test results that showed high blood pressure, among other ailments. He told Swick she needed immediate heart surgery or she would die. Equally important, the KEEP screening found that Swick had protein in her urine, an early marker of kidney disease. Unlike so many others who discover that they have the disease only when their kidney function has deteriorated so badly that the only recourse is dialysis, Swick got the information early enough to manage her disease.

"Pure and simple, KEEP saved my life, and I tell everybody about it," says Swick, who underwent a successful triple bypass surgery. She has resumed going to church and doing all the other activities big and small that give her pleasure. "I don't shuffle anymore," she reports, " I stride!"

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Health Care Reform and the Kidney Community

Congress continues to move forward on health care and insurance reforms. The NKF has not endorsed any bill, but we do support many of the elements in the bills to increase access to health care and improve the quality of care. These include provisions affecting the ability of those with chronic disease to obtain health insurance and the extension of immunosuppressive drug coverage for transplant recipients

You can support our legislative agenda by joining the NKF People Like Us Take Action Network. Learn more about the bills and issues, contact your Member of Congress and sign up at www.kidney.org/takeaction.

Seventy five cents of every health care dollar is spent on treating chronic diseases. Those who are most sick have the hardest time getting and maintaining health care coverage. Getting rid of pre-existing condition exclusions and annual and lifetime caps of coverage or prohibiting insurance carriers from dropping you if you get sick will go a long way to making sure that health insurance is there when you need it. Congress is also working on ways to ensure that most people participate in an insurance program.

 

 

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Dopamine May Improve Kidney Transplant Success from Brain-Dead Donors

Administering the neurotransmitter dopamine to brain-dead organ donors may help safeguard the quality of their kidneys for more successful transplantation, according to a study published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The majority of transplanted kidneys are recovered from donors who have suffered brain death, yet whose hearts are still beating. This puts their organs at risk for serious damage and increases the chance of a recipient needing dialysis after the transplant surgery.

Researchers from the University Medical Centre in Mannheim, Germany, reported that treating brain-dead organ donors with dopamine reduced the chances that the kidney recipient would need dialysis in the first week after surgery which led to increased chances of transplantation failure.

In the trial, low-doses of dopamine were given to 264 brain-dead organ donors for an average of six hours, resulting in a more than 10% decrease in the need for dialysis post-surgery. For more information on organ donation click here

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The Kidney Kitchen Takes a Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

You'll see them in farm stands, storefronts and on doorsteps around the neighborhood this month, so why not bring some pumpkin to the dinner table? This Pumpkin Maple Custard recipe from the Kidney Kitchen is a kidney-healthy alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Maple Custard
Serves 8

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1 cup (7.5 oz) canned pumpkin
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup of sugar
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon of maple syrup

Directions:
Heat soy milk in the microwave to a simmer, mix egg yolks and sugar together and then mix all ingredients together except the maple syrup. Pour mixture into slightly oiled soufflé cups filling them 1/2 to 2/3 full. Place soufflé cups in a baking dish. Pour hot water in the baking pan until the water depth is 1/2 way up the sides of the soufflé cups. Bake at 325 for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. The custard should be firm when you jiggle. Cool completely. Warm maple syrup and drizzle over the top before serving.

Analysis:
Calories 88
Total fat 2.6 g
Saturated fat 0.8 g
Monounsaturated fat 0.9 g
Polyunsaturated fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 76.9 mg
Calcium 35 mg
Sodium 29 mg
Phosphorus 60 mg
Potassium 128.7 mg
Carbohydrates 13.6 g
Fiber 1.5 g
Sugar 10 g
Protein 3.4g