Every year, March is observed as “National Kidney Month” – a time to bring global attention towards the importance of good kidney health. Sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), the awareness campaign aims to spread information and education about the prominent risk factors that can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD) and the different ways it could be tested for and prevented. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States, affecting about 30 million Americans. Currently, more than 590,000 people in the US have kidney failure, and over 95,000 are waiting for kidney transplants.

National Kidney MonthCKD (also called chronic kidney failure) develops when the kidneys lose their ability to remove/filter wastes and maintain fluid and chemical balances in the body. By helping the body excrete waste and excess fluid through urine, kidneys help optimize the composition of blood, keep bones strong, and help the body make red blood cells. When this condition reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes can build up in your body. Early stages of CKD may have a few signs or symptoms and the condition may not become apparent until your kidney function is significantly impaired. For accurate diagnosis of kidney disease, nephrologists perform a detailed physical exam, check for signs of problems with the heart or blood vessels and conduct various tests and procedures. Timely and effective treatment for CKD helps in slowing the progression of kidney damage thereby effectively controlling the symptoms. For accurate clinical documentation of this disorder, physicians can opt for medical billing outsourcing services.

Reports from the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) say that one in three Americans are at risk for kidney disease due to diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney failure. In most cases, this condition doesn’t present any symptoms, and it can go undetected until very advanced. The monthly campaign aims to raise awareness about the importance of kidneys to your overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease. World Kidney Day was held this year on March 8 to emphasize the importance of women’s health and specifically, their kidney health. The theme of World Kidney Day 2018 was – “Kidneys & Women’s Health: Include, Value, Empower.”

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is often detected when blood or urine tests are carried out for another reason. The signs and symptoms may include – nausea, loss of appetite, swollen ankles, feet or hands, tiredness, blood in the urine, high blood pressure and sleep problems. Hence, early diagnosis of symptoms and appropriate referral is crucial for effective treatment of this condition.

CKD can be diagnosed by conducting various tests such as blood tests, urine tests, testing a sample of kidney tissue and imaging tests. The results of blood and urine tests can determine the specific stage of the kidney disease. The diagnosis, screening tests and other procedures performed by nephrologists must be carefully documented using the correct medical codes. Medical billing and coding services provided by reputable companies can help physicians use the correct codes for their medical billing purposes. ICD-10 codes used for CKD include –

  • N18 – Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
  • N18.1 – Chronic kidney disease, stage 1
  • N18.2 – Chronic kidney disease, stage 2 (mild)
  • N18.3 – Chronic kidney disease, stage 3 (moderate)
  • N18.4 – Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 (severe)
  • N18.5 – Chronic kidney disease, stage 5
  • N18.6 – End stage renal disease
  • N18.9 – Chronic kidney disease, unspecified

During National Kidney Month in March, various health activities to promote awareness of chronic kidney disease and its associated risk factors are conducted. These include – free screening (for those at high risk of CKD such as people with diabetes, high blood pressure or family history of kidney failure), online quiz programs and live Twitter chat with NKF’s chief medical officer. Locations and information can be found on the calendar of NKF website.

Join “National Kidney Month” campaign in March every year. Make an effort to spread awareness about Chronic Kidney disease (CKD) and ways it could be tested and prevented.