FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 30,2020
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF KIDNEY PATIENTS LEADS NATIONAL “ARE YOU O-K+?” CAMPAIGN
NAMES MAY 1ST NATIONAL HIGH POTASSIUM AWARENESS DAY
Tampa, FL – The American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), the oldest and largest, fully independent kidney patient organization in the U.S. is pleased to initiate a national educational “Are You O-K+” campaign aimed at increasing awareness of the devastating effects high potassium (known as hyperkalemia) can have on individuals with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD). This national campaign effort will lead up to May 1st, marking this day as National High Potassium Awareness Day. Approximately 3 million people in the U.S. with CKD and/or heart failure are living with high potassium levels*.
Potassium (scientific symbol is K+) is an important mineral that plays a key role in controlling the function of nerves and muscles, particularly the heart. Potassium is found in many foods, mainly fruits and vegetables. Most of the extra potassium eaten in the diet is removed by the kidneys. When kidney function decreases to a certain level, the body cannot get rid of excess potassium. If potassium levels become too high (for example, if too much potassium is taken in and kidney function is not good enough to remove the extra potassium, or if potassium levels rise due to certain medications), then an individual is diagnosed with hyperkalemia (high potassium) – a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.
The “Are You O-K+” campaign utilizes the scientific symbol of potassium “K+” with a popular message, “Are You Ok” to encourage individuals with kidney diseases to know their potassium level. The SAFE range for blood potassium level is considered to be under 5.1 (3.5 -5.0 mEq/L). Levels of 5.1 and higher indicate hyperkalemia – therefore making May 1st (5.1) the key time for this annual Awareness Day.
“AAKP will use our social media platforms and grassroots efforts to engage the kidney community vigorously. We will use an assortment of educational and informational resources; including online, digital, and print so that every patient and our many partners throughout the kidney community can support this national movement to mark May 1st (5.1) – National High Potassium Awareness Day,” states Richard Knight, AAKP President, and 14-year transplant recipient, “We are honored to lead this inaugural awareness day campaign which is supported by a corporate contribution donation from Relypsa, Inc., a Vifor Pharma Group company.”
“We’re proud to partner with the AAKP to help raise awareness among kidney and heart disease patients about high potassium,” said Dr. Alain Romero, Vice President of Medical and Scientific Affairs, Relypsa. “Despite progress, there are still limited resources available about the causes and complications of high potassium. This campaign aligns with our commitment to patients, and to empowering patients to become better educated about their disease.”
Key objectives of the “Are You O-K+” campaign include:
- Creating a national movement to recognize May 1st as National High Potassium Awareness Day.
- Educating kidney patients on risk factors for hyperkalemia.
- Educating kidney patients on signs/symptoms of hyperkalemia.
- Discussing the connection between hyperkalemia and cardiac complications.
- Explaining the importance of knowing your lab numbers; and
- Encouraging conversation between patients and their healthcare team regarding proper potassium management.
For more information on the “Are You O-K+” campaign, to download the campaign toolkit, or to take the AAKP Potassium Check quiz to test your knowledge, visit www.areyouok.org and follow us on Facebook @areyouok5point1 and Twitter @areyouok5point1.
AAKP will conclude the campaign by hosting a FREE patient education “Are You O-K+” webinar on the official awareness day 5/1/2020. Register today at www.areyouok.org or click here. All individuals who participate in the live webinar on 5.1 will receive a complimentary AAKP Delicious! recipe pack which features kidney-friendly recipes and Potassium Check information. The webinar will be recorded, and available OnDemand after May 1st.
*Data based on an NKF survey
Founded in 1969, AAKP is the largest and oldest, fully independent kidney patient organization in America. Governed by a patient-majority Board, AAKP conducts national education programs designed to better inform kidney patients, care partners, and policy-makers about the true impacts of kidney disease, prevention efforts, and treatment methods. AAKP executes a national advocacy strategy in conjunction with allied kidney organizations designed to insert the patient voice into proposed policies, research efforts, and care deliberations before the Executive Branch and the U.S. Congress.
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Media Contact: Deborah Pelaez, firstname.lastname@example.org or 813-400-2394