Background: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an African American public health crisis. To inform interventions, the National Kidney Disease Education Program surveyed African Americans about their attitudes and behaviors regarding early detection of kidney disease and screening.
Study design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting & participants: 2,017 African Americans from 7 states (Georgia, Maryland, Ohio, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, and Tennessee) selected by using a random-digit dialing telephone survey (response rate, 42.4%).
Predictors: Demographic, risk, knowledge, and behavior variables.
Outcomes & measurements: Perception of CKD as a top health concern, perceived risk of getting kidney disease, and accurate knowledge about CKD and its prevention.
Results: Only 23.5% of African Americans were screened for kidney disease in the last year. Although almost half (43.7%) of African Americans had a CKD risk factor, only 2.8% reported that CKD was a top health concern. Almost half knew the correct definition of kidney disease (48.6%), but few knew a test to diagnose CKD (23.7%) or that African Americans were at greater risk of developing CKD (18.1%). African Americans who had diabetes (odds ratio [OR], 3.22; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.17 to 4.76), hypertension (OR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.28 to 2.44), at least a bachelor's degree (OR, 1.77; 95% CI, 1.17 to 2.66), who had spoken with a medical professional (OR, 1.85; 95% CI, 1.19 to 2.85) or their family (OR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.11 to 2.38) about kidney disease, who knew that a family history of kidney disease is a risk factor (OR, 2.32; 95% CI, 1.08 to 5.0), and who had been tested for CKD in the last year (OR, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.03 to 2.0) were more likely to correctly perceive themselves at increased risk.
Limitations: Respondents were primarily African American women from urban areas.
Conclusions: Most African Americans have poor knowledge about CKD, do not perceive it as an important health problem, and are not getting screened. To increase early detection of kidney disease through screenings, educational efforts linking kidney disease prevention to other diseases that are health priorities for African Americans are necessary.