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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Flavell

Understanding End-Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD) in the African American Community

Understanding End-Stage Kidney Disease (ESKD) in the African American Community

[30 Second Overview]:


  • Higher Risk in African Americans: African Americans are 3x more likely to develop end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) compared to white Americans, due to factors like higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, and genetic predispositions.

  • Causes and Symptoms: ESKD occurs when kidneys can no longer filter waste from the blood, often resulting from chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Symptoms include itchy skin, muscle cramps, changes in urination, and swelling in the ankles and feet.

  • Prevention and Treatment: To lower the risk of ESKD, individuals should monitor their health, maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and consult doctors for genetic and medical tests. Clinical trials may offer new treatment options, and resources are available from organizations like the American Kidney Fund and the National Kidney Foundation.


Did you know that African Americans are 3x more likely to develop end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) compared to white Americans?

What is End-Stage Kidney Disease?


Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is damage to your kidneys that gets worse over time. ESKD, also called kidney failure, is the final stage of CKD when your kidneys have stopped working. At this stage, you need dialysis or a kidney transplant to live. Kidney damage is irreversible and can only be detected through medical tests.


What Causes ESKD?


Your kidneys filter waste and fluids from your blood. When they lose this ability, waste and unsafe levels of fluid build up in your body. ESKD can also result from other health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure.


Signs of CKD and ESKD


  • Itchy skin or rashes

  • Muscle cramps

  • Changes in urination

  • Swelling in your ankles and feet


Why Does ESKD Affect African Americans More?


African Americans are more prone to ESKD because they experience higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. They also have a higher likelihood of a family history of kidney disease and genetic factors such as mutations in the Apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) gene. Disparities in access to healthcare and early diagnosis also play a role.


How Can I Lower My Risk of ESKD?



Is it Safe to Join a Clinical Trial if I Have ESKD?


Clinical trial doctors will screen you to ensure it’s safe for you to participate. Discuss potential trials with your doctor or visit clinicaltrials.gov and search for "kidney disease."


Learn More About ESKD



Taking proactive steps can help manage and reduce the risk of ESKD. Stay informed and consult healthcare professionals to maintain kidney health.


Join the conversation on End-Stage Kidney Disease


Join OHCEngage and continue the conversation on ESKD amongst the African American community. Visit ohcengage.com to join for FREE today. 

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