BY GAIL PARKER and DR. JUNE ROBINSON
ORLANDO – On Saturday, August 26, 2023, Central Florida Black Nurses Association of Orlando, Inc. (CFBNA) and the Health Ministry of New Covenant Baptist Church of Orlando (NCBC) partnered with the National Kidney Foundation of Florida (NKFF) to offer a free kidney health check for the community. The purpose of this event was to promote kidney health awareness and identify those at risk for kidney disease. The event was held at the NCBC, 2210 Rio Grande Ave. Orlando, FL. 32805.
Kidney disease has not been regarded as a major health issue but through the efforts of the NKFF, today kidney disease is being more effectively treated as a serious condition. Skyrocketing rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and obesity have resulted in a corresponding increase in kidney disease.
Quick and simple tests performed by CFBNA nurses and the NKFF staff screened participants for their risk for kidney disease. They were also given free educational materials and spoke with a healthcare professional regarding their risk assessment survey results. Education is one of the most immediate ways to fight kidney disease.
AFRICAN AMERICANS (AA) MORE AT RISK FOR DEVELOPING KIDNEY DISEASE
Why are AA more at risk for developing kidney disease?
-Racism in medicine – may increase the risk of AA people developing kidney disease. It may also increase the risk of people not receiving a correct diagnosis and treatment. It has been scientifically proven that the genes between different racial groups are 99.5-99.9% the same so race is a social construct that oppresses one group in favor of another. A 2016 scientific study surveyed doctors in training found that about half of them endorsed at least one racist myth about Black patients, such as the myth that they have thicker skin or feel less pain. These false ideas could directly affect their treatment of patients, such as by causing them not to correctly diagnose or treat pain.
Lower Access to health care – AA may live In neighborhoods not close to quality doctors; lower incomes may make it difficult to afford healthcare; fear or mistrust of seeking medical care.
Other Risk factors – AA have a high rate of diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of diabetes or kidney disease, obesity, and being over the age of 60.
It’s possible to have kidney disease with no symptoms, especially in the early stages. The symptoms may be subtle at first, and a person might blame them on fatigue or other medical conditions. For this reason, having regular medical checkups can help your doctor diagnose the problem early.
Symptoms to watch for –
*New or worsening fatigue or concentration problems
*puffiness in the face, especially around the eyes
*swelling in the feet
*unexplained muscle pain or cramps
*reduced appetite or unintentional weight loss
*more frequent urination, particularly at night
*urine that looks bubbly or foamy
A simple urine test done in the doctor’s office can show if there is protein in the urine. Also, specific blood tests can indicate if your kidneys are or are not filtering the blood properly.
A person with kidney disease has kidneys unable to function well enough to sustain their body and filter their blood. For that reason, we should consider prevention. Examples are –
*Getting more frequent exercise.
*Treating and controlling other medical conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure,
*quitting smoking, if applicable,
*reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption, if applicable,
*increasing fresh fruit and vegetable intake,
*lower your salt intake,
A special thanks to the volunteers, participants and to all who helped make this a successful health promotion initiative. Kudos to Hebni Nutrition Consultants for providing fresh healthy fruits for everyone.
Local sponsors included – New Covenant Baptist Church of Orlando, Central Florida Black Nurses Association of Orlando, Inc., Advent Health, and the Orange County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
For further information on prevention and treatment of kidney disease contact – kidneyfl.org, or call 407-894-7325.
For information on the Central Florida Black Nurses Association of Orlando, Inc. visit our website at cfbnaoforlando.org
Scientific studies quoted from – “Medical News Today” June 30, 2021. “The American Journal of Bioethics” vol. 21, 2021, issue 2.