WALTHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Chef Aaron McCargo, Jr. has met a lot of people with kidney failure in recent years, while working with Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA) to develop and share recipes and healthy cooking tips for people on dialysis. But until recently, he’d never been tested for chronic kidney disease (CKD), a progressive loss of kidney function that can take place over a period of months or years.
McCargo knows, however, that as an African American, his risk of developing CKD is higher than average. This increased risk is linked directly to higher rates of diabetes and high blood pressure for African Americans, the two leading causes of kidney disease. So in preparation for National Kidney Month this March, he asked his family doctor for a CKD test as part of his regular checkup.
It took less than two minutes for a nurse to draw a small amount of blood from his arm, he recalls, and “before you know it, I was on my way with a Band-Aid.” The next day, he learned that his blood levels of urea, creatinine and other waste products were normal, as was his glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which indicated his kidneys were healthy.
“I’m doing a lot better than I thought,” says McCargo, host of Food Network’s “Big Daddy’s House” cooking show. While relieved to hear that his own kidneys are in good shape, he strongly encourages others – especially high-risk individuals with diabetes or high blood pressure – to be regularly screened for CKD.
More than 26 million Americans have CKD, which often goes undiagnosed in its initial stages when many people do not have symptoms. It’s important to detect the disease as early as possible, since early treatment with medication, exercise and diet changes may be able to slow its progression. Once the disease progresses to kidney failure, the only options for survival are dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant.
“We appreciate Chef McCargo’s efforts to raise awareness about CKD testing during this year’s National Kidney Month,” says Dr. Dugan W. Maddux, vice president of Kidney Disease Initiatives at FMCNA. “As his experience shows, getting screened for CKD is fast and easy, and for some people, it may literally save their lives.”
For more information about kidney disease and its treatments, visit FMCNA’s website at www.ultracare-dialysis.com; if you or a family member are at risk for CKD, please schedule a doctor’s visit and get screened. For more information on National Kidney Month, please visit www.ultracare-dialysis.com/kidneymonth.
About Fresenius Medical Care North America
Through our leading network of more than 2,150 dialysis facilities in North America and our vascular access centers, laboratory, pharmacy and affiliated hospitals and nephrology practices, Fresenius Medical Care provides renal services to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada. We are also the continent’s top producer of dialysis equipment, dialyzers and related disposable products and a major supplier of renal pharmaceuticals.
About Chef Aaron McCargo, Jr.
Chef Aaron McCargo, Jr. competed on and won season four of “The Next Food Network Star” in 2008, beating out thousands of culinary hopefuls for the ultimate dream job – his own Food Network show. “Big Daddy’s House” premiered in 2008 and continues to be a success. On “Big Daddy’s House,” Aaron shares his passion for big, bold flavors and fun, family cooking, bringing a down-to-earth vibe and warm smile to the kitchen. He recently published his first cookbook, “Simply Done, Well Done.” Whether cooking for his children, relatives, friends, or even himself, big food and big fun reign supreme. FMCNA and Aaron have been working together since 2011 to encourage dialysis patients to get back in the kitchen by developing dishes with big, bold flavors that they can enjoy, while still adhering to the restrictions of their dialysis diets.