In Hawai'i, hundreds are waiting for transplants. More than 134,294 people nationwide are waiting on an organ transplant. Hawai'i has a high incidence of kidney disease with estimates of 162,000 that are affected with chronic kidney disease. Specifically, Hawai'i has about 3,300 kidney disease patients who are suffering from kidney failure and participating in dialysis. Pacific Islanders, including Native Hawaiians and Filipinos, are at the highest risk for kidney disease, but it also strikes Hispanic and Japanese in high numbers. For more information on transplants, visit the "Donate Life Hawai'i Organ and Tissue Donor Registry."
The National Kidney Foundation of Hawai'i (NKFH) wants you to know that kidney health can improve, but it takes swift and proactive management. The more common form of kidney disease happens slowly, over a long period of time. This is called chronic kidney disease. You might have heard it called CKD. Kidney disease happens without your knowledge and is often referred to as the silent killer. Chronic kidney disease is a lifetime illness; it will not go away and is a widespread problem, especially in older people. In an early stage of the disease, the kidneys don't do a good job of removing extra water and waste out of the blood. Over time, the problem gets worse, and the kidneys may completely stop working. This is called end-stage renal disease or ESRD. Renal is another word for kidney.
The National Kidney Foundation of Hawai'i hosts an annual "Da Kidney Da Kine" event in Central Maui and is planning to add a second smaller educational and testing event this fall in Lahaina. The NKFH also hosts monthly support group meetings to share education, awareness and support for anyone affected by kidney disease.
National Kidney Foundation of Hawai'i encourages you to contact the local office to schedule a free educational presentation at your civic, senior, church or social gathering. Get involved with the Kidney Friends program that accepts gently used clothes at several locations throughout Maui. If you have an automobile to donate for a IRS-approved itemized tax deduction, reach out to your local NKFH office. The National Kidney Foundation of Hawai'i accepts donations that stay in Maui at their local office in Wailuku.
Because kidney disease is a silent killer, and most do not realize there is a problem until it is in a serious stage, the NKFH encourages individuals to ask your doctor to be tested for kidney disease. Ask your doctor to find out your "GFR" (glomerular filtration rate). The NKFH Maui office is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For additional information, call the Maui office at (808) 986-1900 or visit www.kidneyhi.org.