November is Diabetes Awareness Month
Patients with Diabetes Urged to See Physicians Regularly
to Detect Kidney Disease Early
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Austin, Texas – Nov. 20, 2008 – Last year, 1.6 million people learned they had diabetes, a chronic illness that requires careful daily oversight to maintain health and quality of life. As these 1.6 million people learn to manage their diabetes, they also should be aware of illnesses related to diabetes, particularly kidney disease. During Diabetes Awareness Month, TMF Health Quality Institute urges all patients with diabetes to take charge of their health and visit their doctor for annual screenings for kidney disease.
“Early detection, along with appropriate interventions, can substantially reduce the progression of kidney failure,” said Earl Smith, MD, medical director for TMF. “While kidney damage is irreversible, slowing the disease and building awareness of the illness can help patients preserve their kidneys.”
The United States Renal Data System reports that 27 million Americans have kidney disease, and millions more are at risk because they have high blood pressure or undiagnosed diabetes. Currently, Texas has more than 130,000 Medicare patients with chronic kidney disease, ranking the Lone Star State second only to California.
Most testing for kidney function only takes a few minutes and can be done in the doctor’s office with a sample of the patient’s urine. The American Diabetes Association and the National Kidney Foundation both recommend that all patients with diabetes receive this annual screening. Along with blood sugar tests, eye exams with dilation and cholesterol screening, checking kidney function can help patients and their doctors detect problems early while many treatment options are available.
Over the next three years, TMF is conducting a chronic kidney disease initiative with physicians who treat patients with diabetes. The initiative promotes timely screenings and care management strategies for Medicare beneficiaries at risk for kidney disease, specifically those with diabetes. Physicians interested in joining this initiative can call 1-866-439-8863 or e-mail KidneyHealth@tmf.org for more information.
People living with diabetes are encouraged to take control of their health and schedule a doctor’s appointment to check their kidney function. For more information on diabetes self-management and necessary preventive screenings for chronic kidney disease, visit KidneyHealth.tmf.org.
About TMF Health Quality Institute
TMF Health Quality Institute is an Austin, Texas-based nonprofit consulting company focused on promoting quality health and health care through contracts with federal, state and local governments, as well as private organizations. TMF partners with health care providers in a variety of settings to ensure that every person receives the appropriate care, every time.