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Fresenius Medical Care Urges People with Diabetes or High Blood Pressure to Learn About Kidney Disease on World Kidney Day

Early Detection and Treatment is Critical, and Can Slow the Progression of Kidney Disease

WALTHAM, Mass. – March 10, 2011 - Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of chronic kidney disease (CKD), a health problem that is growing at an alarming rate in the United States. There are 26 million Americans who have CKD, and millions more are at increased risk and may not even know it. On World Kidney Day, Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), the nation’s leading network of dialysis facilities, encourages those at risk for CKD to diagnose and treat high blood pressure and diabetes, because these conditions can lead to life-threatening kidney failure.

Chronic kidney disease is a progressive, usually permanent loss of kidney function. When CKD leads to kidney failure, or end stage renal disease (ESRD), the only treatments are a kidney transplant or dialysis.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, research indicates that high blood pressure, which affects about 74 million Americans, is the most important predictor for diabetics developing chronic kidney disease. In addition, diabetes is the single leading cause of kidney failure in the U.S., accounting for about 44 percent of the people who start treatment for kidney failure each year.

Kidney disease disproportionately affects African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, American Indians and senior citizens, and being overweight also increases the chances of developing CKD. There is a correlation, because these groups are at higher risk for diabetes and high blood pressure.

FMCNA has created several education programs to help inform patients and their families to better understand CKD and treatment options. The company's Treatment Options Program (TOPs) educational sessions are open to the public at no cost, and provide information about kidney disease management and the treatments available when CKD leads to kidney failure. To find a class near you, call toll-free 1-877-TOPS-LIFE (1-877-867-7543) or visit www.ultracare-dialysis.com (in English and Spanish).

"If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you need to understand your risks and get regular screenings. Often there are no symptoms of kidney disease until it is at an advanced stage and close to requiring treatment with either dialysis or a kidney transplant," said Franklin W. Maddux, M.D., FACP, senior vice president and chief medical information officer at FMCNA.

Early detection and treatment can help prevent further kidney damage and slow the progression of kidney disease.

Tips if you are at risk for CKD:

  • Educate yourself now about CKD.
  • Have blood, urine and blood pressure checked at least once a year.
  • Control high blood pressure.
  • Make positive changes in your diet. Meet with a trained dietitian to help with meal planning.
  • Exercise regularly. According to the National Kidney Foundation, walking, swimming and bicycling are the most recommended exercises because you are moving large muscle groups continuously.
  • If you smoke, quit. Smoking makes kidney disease get worse faster.

About Fresenius Medical Care

Fresenius Medical Care (NYSE: FMS) is the world’s leading company devoted to patient-oriented renal therapy. Through more than 2,700 clinics in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Africa, we provide kidney dialysis treatments to approximately 210,000 patients worldwide. We are also the world's leading maker of dialysis products such as hemodialysis machines, dialyzers and related disposable products. Chronic kidney failure is a condition that affects about 1.9 million individuals worldwide.

For more information about the company’s more than 1,800 U.S. dialysis facilities, visit www.ultracare-dialysis.com (in English and Spanish). For more information about Fresenius Medical Care, visit www.fmc-ag.com or www.fmcna.com.