Two statistics from the National Kidney Foundation feature the number nine in striking terms that describe the impact of kidney disease in Americans and other figures tell a tale of a veteran population that is particularly at risk.
The foundation says kidney disease is the U.S.’ ninth-leading cause of death at a greater volume than breast cancer or prostate cancer, while 26 million American adults have kidney disease at a one-in-nine ratio with almost 10 percent of those afflicted not knowing they have the illness.
Regarding veterans, the foundation estimates the prevalence of kidney disease among former soldiers as 34-percent higher than the general population due to higher rates of diabetes and high blood pressure, with 600,000 having an illness and 15,000 on dialysis.
Those numbers among veterans are one of several reasons that spurred SAP National Security Services CEO Mark Testoni to volunteer as chairman of the foundation’s Masquerade Kidney Ball fundraising event last year.
Testoni will reprise the role for a second time this year on Nov. 19 at the Washington Hilton.
“It was startling to me to see how pervasive kidney disease is and how it’s not talked about like the other challenges we hear about so commonly. Our goal is to help make the public more aware of this rather significant health concern, ” Testoni told ExecutiveBiz.
“I think we all as executives around the country have a responsibility to give back in multi-dimensional ways. When I heard those statistics, I felt the general lack of awareness around issue this made it one I could give time too and I’ve actually gotten to know some people that have been directly impacted by the National Kidney Foundation efforts,” Testoni said.
Education to healthcare providers and citizens is a cornerstone of the foundation’s larger mission in light of the awareness concerns.
Part of the emphasis is a focus on effective screening in a similar manner to the more high-profile health issues such as heart disease and cancer.
Testoni told ExecutiveBiz another goal of the National Kidney Foundation is to further inform individuals on how to ask their doctors about issues related to the kidney such as other surrounding organs and how to potentially recognize the signs of related disease.
“Hopefully over time, we can get people thinking about such issues involving internal organs and more importantly get the physician community and people in general thinking about kidney health as something to monitor,” Testoni said.