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World Kidney Day – Intermountain Health Wants You to Know Your Kidney Risk

March is US Kidney Month, and March 14th is World Kidney Day. Althought often silent, Intermountain Health nephrologists say 1 in 7 adults are affected by kidney disease.

(PRUnderground) March 14th, 2024

Kidney disease affects more than one in seven adults in the US, and yet nine out of ten of them are not aware of it. March 14th is World Kidney Day, and March is Kidney Month in the US, so Intermountain Health caregivers say it is time to focus on your kidneys.

The kidneys are fist sized organs located in the middle of a persons back with the primary function of filtering waste and fluid from the body’s blood. Kidneys also control and adjust electrolyte levels in the blood as well as make hormones that help your body make red blood cells and keep your bones healthy.

“Although you can’t always eliminate your chances of kidney failure, knowing your risk and acting on potential problems can lower your chances or delay on set of chronic kidney disease,” said Leslie Wong, MD, Senior Medical Director of Intermountain Health Kidney Services.

Dr. Wong suggests individuals participate in a free self-screening tool available online at from the National Kidney Foundation, or talking with your doctor.

“A conversation with your doctor can help you understand if you are at risk,” said Dr. Wong. There are many things that can cause kidney damage, such as high blood pressure, which your doctor can help you address.”

Risk factors for chronic kidney disease include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Anatomical defects
  • Genetic diseases
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

“Many risks are genetic in nature, but that doesn’t mean you and your doctor can’t address them,” said Dr. Wong. “Others, such as smoking, are highly impactful and you can act immediately.”

Dr. Wong said it is so important that individual’s know their risk, Intermountain Health is taking steps to evaluate every patient through their doctor. “It is not like providers have been neglecting their patients, but we are making it easier for them and their patients to evaluate their risk.”

This test is now part of a regular bundle of labs a doctor can order called the Kidney Risk Score that provides an estimate of a person’s risk of kidney failure in the next five years.  This requires a standard blood and urine test done at the same time during a visit to the laboratory. The Kidney Risk Score isn’t done for every patient, but persons with diabetes or at higher risk for chronic kidney disease due to the risk factors listed above should have their Kidney Risk Score checked annually.

“It is also important to note the Kidney Risk Score does not come at an additional expense to patients beyond the usual costs of the individual blood and urine tests,” said Dr. Wong.

Dr. Wong said persons with any risk for chronic kidney disease should discuss ways to keep their kidneys healthy with their primary care provider. However, those with a Kidney Risk Score higher than 5% should be referred to a nephrologist (kidney specialist) for individualized kidney health recommendations.

For more information on kidney health, Intermountain Health suggests,, or by talking to your doctor.

About Intermountain Health

Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., Intermountain Health is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called Select Health with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information or updates, see

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