MARK Advocacy Group
Memories Are Respectfully Kept
to give a voice back to people who feel they have been silenced in their own medical journeys
1 in 3
are at risk for
are waiting for a
Statistics from the National Kidney Foundation
What We Provide
Are you or someone you know struggling with kidney disease or a chronic illness? The MARK Advocacy Group was created to help guide, support, and be a one-stop resource for those (and friends and family) who have felt dismissed, ignored, or betrayed by traditional healthcare practices, organizations, and providers.
How do I find out if I am at risk of kidney disease?
The best way is to talk to your family doctor. Also, look through your family’s medical history. If there is a pattern of kidney disease, it could also mean that you are at risk for it.
Regular physical exams are designed to screen for various medical conditions, including chronic kidney disease.
I am newly diagnosed, what do I need to know?
Chronic kidney disease is common. About 17% of the United States population carries this diagnosis. About 7 in 10 people do not know that they have mild Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), and 2 out of 5 adults do not realize that they have severe CKD.
It is essential to talk with your provider about different stages of CKD and where on that scale your kidney function falls.
CKD is divided into five different stages based on kidney function, also called Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR).
GFR between 90ml/min and 100ml/min is considered Stage I. GFR between 60ml/min and 89ml/min is considered Stage II.
30ml/min to 59ml/min translates to CKD III. Once at this stage, a visit with a kidney specialist (Nephrologist) is in order.
GFR between 15ml/min-29ml/min is Stage IV, and lastly, GFR below 15ml/min is called CKD stage V or End Stage Kidney Disease.
Dialysis is usually initiated at this stage.
It is also important to figure out the reason for decreased GFR as many things can affect kidney function, many of which are reversible.
What is the right treatment plan for me?
The most important thing is to educate yourself. This begins with a good discussion with your healthcare provider and, if needed, a kidney specialist. In addition, a great deal of information can be obtained from medical websites recommended by your healthcare providers.
In some instances, changes in diet will be needed as well.
While CKD diagnosis can be scary and overwhelming initially, most of that feeling comes from not fully understanding the disease process. Once better understood, the vast majority of those with a diagnosis of CKD tend to become very comfortable with it and start to take a very active part in the healing process.
How do I become a living donor?
Becoming an organ donor is a great thing that results in an amazing, life-saving gift to someone in need. It is hard to put in words just how much impact an organ donation has on someone who has been on a waiting list for one.
If you are interested in organ donation, joining the Michigan Organ Donor Registry is a good first step. Reaching out to the Gift of Life is another. There are other state-specific Donor Registries that one can join as well.
Your primary care team will guide you to these registries.
How do I help as a caregiver?
If you are reading this, it means that you are ready to start changing the quality of conversations that are taking place in doctor’s offices today.
Many patients leave their healthcare provider’s office confused and unsure of what was said and what will happen next. It is crucial to start taking more time to educate those who are under your care. Spending more time with your patients early on translates into better outcomes for both the patient and the provider. Improved compliance, earlier detection of problems, and reduced morbidity and mortality are just some of the outcomes that tend to improve with this model.
As the medical business model shifts from pay-per-visit to outcome-based payment solutions, getting those under your care to better understand the disease process and become part of the solution will help tremendously with the transition.