The Wild West Isn’t So Wild These Days

Things are settling down now.  We had our first sleep-late-and- have-fruit-laden- pancakes (from scratch) since the wedding furor started.  Not bad!  Less than a month and we’re back to ourselves.  Of course, we did have several years to try it out so we knew what ‘ourselves’ meant first.

I’m not sure I mentioned this, but when people asked what we’d like for our no gifts wedding, I always answered, “Please, donate to a charity in our names if you feel you must give a gift.” Thank you, family, for taking me up on that.  Cousins Paul Brosnan, Marlene Mines, Flo Knudsen, and Mikki Knudsen (yes, the award winning children’s author – that Mikki Knudsen) donated to different cancer research units. Cousins Rich and Sheila Slotnick donated to The National Kidney Fund. 

How generous is that?  You are a wonderful family!  Peckolick side, we are so looking forward to seeing you at next year’s Florida reunion.th

I’ve mentioned that I’m a LandmarkEducation graduate several times on the blog.  I’m taking a course now that involves creating a sustainable project.  Naturally, I chose something to do with Chronic Kidney Disease.  It’s easy for me to do whatever it is myself, but this requires my not doing it, but rather setting it in place for other people to do, benefit from, and keep going.

What I want to do is bring CKD education and testing to the many Native American reservations here in Arizona, and then in the country, and finally, the world.  Native Americans have a higher incidence of CKD.  Some of the reservations do have Diabetes Prevention Programs in place now.  Diabetes is the primary cause of CKD, but CKD may cause diabetes, too.

Native Americans have the highest rate of diabetes in the world, yet they comprise only 1.5% of this country’s population. This is striking when you think about it.  Do you?  Has it ever crossed your consciousness?  I know it hadn’t crossed mine.  

Well, there are many tribal members who also have never thought about it. Someone needs to bring this to their attention, educate them, and maybe even prevent them from developing CKD which would prevent them from End Stage Kidney Disease (stage 5 when you need dialysis or a transplant – it’s when your kidneys stop functioning at all).

My thinking is that the educational aspect will lead the participants to be tested for something they probably have never heard of – CKD. While Caucasians are usually diagnosed around age 60, Native Americans develop diabetes most often in their mid-thirties.  All those extra years to be at a substantial risk of CKD!

I am requesting that anyone who knows anyone who is somehow involved with the reservations contact me. Words aren’t any good without action.  I’m looking for people who can help me get this started by introducing me to someone on the reservation.

This is a chart showing the high incidence rates of CKD among different races.  Notice, it only tracks up to 2009.  Adjstd_Incident_Rates_ESRD_Race

You can see the chart and more information about the prevalence of CKD in different races and age groups at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/kustats/

According to DaVita, “The rate of end stage renal disease among Native Americans with diabetes is six times higher than among non-Native Americans.” You can read more about Native Americans, diabetes, and Chronic Kidney Disease at: http://www.davita.com/kidney-disease/causes/assessing-your-risk/native-americans-and-chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/e/5007

I found this abstract of a study at: http://www.keepthefaith1296.com/parkinsons/reducing-the-burden-of-chronic-kidney-disease-among-american-indians-MTgzMzQyNDI=.htm

In order to address the growing burden of CKD, the Indian Health Service established the Kidney Disease Program to improve the screening of and the management of diabetics with CKD. Routine reporting of eGFR, yearly monitoring of protein excretion, utilization of renin-angiotensin system (RAS) antagonists, and aggressive control of blood pressure were implemented in association with enhanced patient and provider education. By 2006, 82% of hypertensive diabetics were receiving a RAS antagonist. Implementation of these efforts has been associated with a 31% decrease in ESRD incidence among AIs/ANs with diabetes. This program of improvements in CKD care implemented by a federal agency serving a high-risk population with limited resources may be a useful model for others.”

It sounds like exactly what is needed.  There’s only one problem.  Not one of the many Native Americans I’ve encountered while teaching at Phoenix College, Gateway Community College, Estrella Mountain Continuing Education Center, or three different campuses of Glendale Community College has ever heard of this program.  Not one of the many Native Americans I’ve met during film, television, or  commercial shoots, auditions, or live theater performances out here has ever heard of the program. Not one of the many Native Americans I’ve met at the countless dances I’ve attended here or the numerous LandmarkEducation courses has ever heard of this program.

After more research, it became clearer to me why.  Already underfunded, the Indian Health Service – which, by the way, is a division of The United States Department of Health and Human Services – has been hit hard this year by budget cuts.  So we have budget cuts to an already underfunded program.  I guess there is a need for outside help. I may have neglected to mention it, but another part of my idea is that it be free. 

Arizona is a fairly large state with over 6% of the population being Native American.  There are 21 federally recognized tribes here with two others petitioning for recognition as of March, 2007.  According to http://www.aaanativearts.com/tribes-by-states/arizona_tribes.htm, these are the federally recognized tribes as of that same date:tribes

  • Ak Chin Indian Community of the Maricopa (Ak Chin) Indian Reservation
  • Cocopah Tribe of Arizona
  • Colorado River Indian Tribes of the Colorado River Indian Reservation (Arizona and California)
  • Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation
  • Fort Mojave Indian Tribe (Arizona, California and Nevada)
  • Gila River Indian Community of the Gila River Indian Reservation
  • Havasupai Tribe of the Havasupai Reservation
  • Hopi Tribe of Arizona
  • Hualapai Indian Tribe of the Hualapai Indian Tribe Reservation
  • Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians of the Kaibab Indian Reservation
  • Navajo Nation (Arizona, New Mexico and Utah)
  • Pascua  Yaqui Tribe of Arizona
  • Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation (Arizona and California)
  • Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community of the Salt River Reservation
  • San Carlos Apache Tribe of the San Carlos Reservation
  • San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe of Arizona
  • Tohono O’odham Nation of Arizona (formerly the Papago)
  • Tonto Apache Tribe of Arizona
  • White Mountain Apache Tribe of the Fort Apache Reservation
  • Yavapai-Apache Nation of the Camp Verde Indian Reservation
  • Yavapai-Prescott Tribe of the Yavapai Reservation

Wow!  I have my work cut out for me… and so do you, help me get this sustainable program started.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

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