Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions | Kidney Transplantation | Chronic Kidney Disease | Renal Dialysis | Samuel Orenstein

Here are some very helpful answers to questions that AAKP is asked on a regular basis. If your question is not answered here, please browse the resource library or contact us directly.

General Questions

Are there symptoms of renal failure?

Most often, kidney failure is a slow, progressive disease. Usually there are no severe tell-tale signs at the beginning stages of the disease. But you may experience:

  • frequent trips to the restroom
  • loss of appetite
  • dry, itchy skin
  • swollen feet
  • muscle cramps

Are there tests that can detect kidney disease?

A doctor may first detect the condition through routine blood and urine tests. There are three tests to screen for kidney disease: a blood pressure measurement, a spot check for protein or albumin in the urine (proteinuria), and a calculation of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) based on a serum creatinine measurement. Measuring urea nitrogen in the blood provides additional information.

How long does a transplanted kidney work?

On average, a kidney transplant lasts between eight and 15 years. But some transplants last only a few weeks and some last 20 years. In general, kidneys from living donors last longer than those from cadaveric (deceased) donors.

How many people in the U.S. have end stage renal disease (ESRD)?

In 2009, 116,395 new dialysis and transplant patients started ESRD therapy. More than 571,000 patients were receiving treatment on December 31, 2009. Nearly 399,000 of these patients were being treated with dialysis, while 172,553 had a working donated kidney.

With Medicare spending for ESRD at $29 billion, and non-Medicare spending at $13.5 billion, total ESRD costs in 2009 reached $42.5 billion. Medicare costs per person per year were more than $70,000 overall, ranging from $29,983 for transplant patients to $82,285 for those receiving hemodialysis therapy.

How many people in the U.S. have kidney disease?

Kidney disease has been estimated to affect nearly 26 million Americans. The increase of kidney disease is now reaching epidemic proportions. The rates are even higher among racial and ethnic minorities. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant.

What causes kidney failure?

There are several conditions that can lead to kidney disease, but the leading two causes are hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes.

What does it mean to be an ESRD patient?

End-stage renal disease (ESRD) occurs when kidney damage is so severe that dialysis or a kidney transplant is needed to control symptoms and prevent complications and death. This is total and permanent kidney failure. When the kidneys fail, the body retains fluids and harmful wastes build up poisoning the body.

What is dialysis?

Dialysis is the procedure for artificially replacing many functions performed by normal kidneys. It is necessary to replace kidney function when kidneys are no longer able to keep people healthy and safe. There are two common types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

What is the Medicare ESRD Program?

The Medicare ESRD Program stands as the only federal program that finances disease-specific services to a segment of the American population on virtually a universal basis. Under the Program, those persons who have been diagnosed with end-stage renal disease and are insured under Social Security or are spouses or dependent children of persons who are so insured are eligible for coverage. The Program pays for most dialysis services and supplies for eligible patients. Thus, practically every ESRD patient in the United States has access to life-sustaining dialysis treatment or kidney transplantation without having to exhaust all personal and family resources.

Kidney Transplantation

How long does a transplanted kidney work?

On average, a kidney transplant lasts between eight and 15 years. But some transplants last only a few weeks and some last 20 years. In general, kidneys from living donors last longer than those from cadaveric (deceased) donors.

Chronic Kidney Disease

What is chronic kidney disease (CKD)?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is defined as damaged kidneys, or a reduction in kidney function below 60 percent of normal. Kidney disease is sometimes called a “silent” disease, because it often causes no pain or other symptoms.

Renal Dialysis

What happens if a person stops dialysis treatment?

If a patient want to stop dialysis treatment, it is important that he speaks with his health care team and loved ones beforehand. When treatment is stopped, toxic wastes and fluid build up in the body, making the person feel tired. Breathing becomes difficult. A physician can prescribe medicine to make breathing easier. The length of time someone continues to live depends on his condition. He may live a week, he may go on to live for months. It depends on the amount of kidney function he has left and his overall medical condition.

Samuel Orenstein Legacy Program

How do I change my online credit card information?

Please call us at 800-749-AAKP to implement the desired change of your credit card information.

How do I increase my monthly, online gift amount?

Please contact the Samuel Orenstein Legacy Program via phone or fax with your new gift amount along with your mailing address associated with your monthly gifts. Most requests take between two to three weeks to complete, and the new amount will be effective with your next scheduled gift. You will receive confirmation of the change made to your account.

How do I join the Samuel Orenstein Legacy Program?

There are three different ways that you may join the Samuel Orenstein Legacy Program. You may make a monthly credit card gift by using the electronic form accessed through Make a Monthly Gift Online Form. Upon completion you will receive an electronic confirmation letter.

If you do not wish to fill out the online form you can download the Samuel Orenstein Legacy Monthly Donor form and return to the AAKP office.
You may also call the office at (800)-749-2257 and request to join the Samuel Orenstein Legacy Donor Program.

How do I stop giving through automatic gift payments made through my credit card?

To stop your automatic gift payments please email your request with your name, mailing address, current gift payment method, along with your pledge amount to info@aakp.org or mail your request to the AAKP, Samuel Orenstein Legacy Program.

Is my gift tax-deductible?

Yes AAKP is recognized as tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. If you qualify for a free year membership, $25 of your total donation is not considered tax-deductible.

What are the free membership restrictions?

A free year membership is offered after you have made a monthly donation of at least $30 for four consecutive months. If you are already a member, your free membership will be added onto your current membership.

What does AAKP do with my donation?

Your contribution to AAKP allows us to continue to help improve the lives of patients and family members by helping them manage the physical, emotional and social impact of kidney disease.

When will my credit card gift be charged to my account?

Legacy Circle credit card gifts are generally processed on the 15th of each calendar month, and a year-end gift statement is provided to you annually.

When will my online credit card gift be transacted?

Upon the successful completion of your first online monthly gift, your subsequent gifts will process on the 15th of each month. Also, you will receive a monthly email to confirm that your gift has been made. If for some reason we are unable to process your gift, we will send you an email requesting new information.