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Nearly one in six African Americans has signs of kidney disease, according to the U.S. Renal Data System. As more people are diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure— the two leading causes of kidney disease among African Americans–faith communities are answering the call to empower their congregations with important kidney health information.

“African Americans can reduce our risk for kidney disease. It starts with us managing diabetes and blood pressure.  We also need to know our family health history and use trusted information to make better health decisions,” said Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., M.A.C.P., director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. “Families, faith-based organizations, and other groups can use the resources available to help each other reduce our risk for kidney disease.  Together we can reduce its impact on our community.”

Dr. Karla L. Robinson is a family practice physician in Charlotte, North Carolina.  She is also a health champion working to arm her family, patients, and church with kidney health information to improve their quality of life.

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For Dr. Robinson, kidney health is deeply personal. Her grandmother was diagnosed with kidney disease caused by diabetes and high blood pressure.  Her grandmother’s kidneys failed and she began dialysis to remove waste from her body and help her live healthier longer.  This experience sparked Robinson’s commitment to help others learn about their risk for kidney disease.

“In my private practice, I saw a lot of African-American patients with high blood pressure and diabetes.  I saw first-hand the impact these diseases were having on their health,” said Dr. Robinson.  “I said enough is enough.  My experiences personally and professionally motivated me to want to educate my patients and community about kidney disease.”

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