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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) recognizes National Kidney Month in March by raising awareness about kidney health.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) disproportionately affects some minority populations, including Black Americans (33 percent), American Indian/Alaska Natives (30 percent), and Hispanic Americans (28 percent).

The most common risk factors for CKD are diseases that also more heavily impact these minority populations: diabetes, which causes kidney damage due to excess sugar, and high blood pressure, which causes damage to blood vessels in the kidneys over time.

Kidneys are vital organs that filter waste out of the body. They regulate chemicals and fluid levels in the body, control blood pressure, keep bones healthy, and produce a hormone that triggers red blood cell production.

It is crucial to keep kidneys healthy. Research estimates that more than 1 in 7 adults have CKD and 9 in 10 adults who have CKD do not know that they have it. CKD is a slow-progressing disease and those affected may not have any early symptoms, so screening should be a regular occurrence, especially in those over age 65 and in minority populations.

If left untreated, CKD can eventually cause kidney failure and require a transplant.

On July 10, 2019, President Trump signed an Executive Order dedicated to advancing kidney health. For additional information about this policy, please see Econometrica’s Kidney Health Executive Order Policy Review.

For additional resources from CMS OMH related to kidney health, please visit https://www.cms.gov/About-CMS/Agency-Information/OMH/equity-initiatives/health-observances.