NBA Star Alonzo Mourning Spreads the Word About Kidney Disease

Basketball star Alonzo Mourning has overcome tremendous obstacles to become an all-star on and off the court. He was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2000, and had a kidney transplant in 2003. Since then, Mourning has made a triumphant return to the National Basketball Association (NBA), and now he will visit clinics throughout the United States with Rebound from Anemia, a program designed to provide information about chronic kidney disease and its signs and symptoms to the millions of people with the condition and those at risk.

Chronic kidney disease is a progressive condition in which the kidneys are unable to function effectively. Many people, including Mourning before his diagnosis, do not realize that they have chronic kidney disease, or are at risk for developing it, until they have reached advanced stages of the condition. This is significant, because more than 20 million Americans — or one in nine adults — are estimated to have chronic kidney disease and another 20 million are at increased risk. Through Rebound from Anemia, Mourning hopes to motivate people to take action by evaluating if they are at risk for chronic kidney disease, and by identifying common signs and symptoms often associated with the condition. One such sign, anemia, or low concentrations of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, is an early, yet often overlooked signal of chronic kidney disease.

“Before my diagnosis, I had no idea that I was at risk for kidney disease, or that fatigue or tiredness associated with anemia is a warning symptom for the condition. If I had known more about the risk factors for chronic kidney disease and its symptoms, I could have worked with my doctor and received treatment earlier, which may have slowed my disease progression,” said Mourning. “Take my advice — if you’re at risk for chronic kidney disease and have symptoms of anemia, speak to your doctor.”

People at risk for chronic kidney disease include those who suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, or both, and those who have a family history of kidney disease or who are over the age of 65. Chronic kidney disease also is more common among African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders and American Indians. It is particularly important for those at risk for chronic kidney disease to be aware of the signs and symptoms of anemia, such as fatigue or tiredness, dizziness or shortness of breath.

“Recognition of anemia may lead to an earlier discovery of chronic kidney disease, which can lead to earlier treatment and better health outcomes,” said Robert Provenzano, M.D., F.A.C.P., chair of the Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, St. John Hospital & Medical Center, Detroit, MI. “This makes it critical that patients discuss symptoms of anemia with their doctors.”

Rebound from Anemia is sponsored by Ortho Biotech Products, L.P., marketer of PROCRIT(R) (Epoetin alfa). For more information about kidney disease and anemia, please visit http://www.KidneyResource.com.

Alonzo’s Story
In 2000, Alonzo Mourning was at the top of his game. He was a leading player in the NBA, twice-named defensive player of the year and a member of the gold medal Olympic team. That same year, he faced his biggest opponent — a diagnosis of kidney disease that led to his temporary retirement from the NBA and a kidney transplant in December 2003.

“One of my greatest challenges was the fatigue or tiredness related to anemia that not only kept me from picking up a basketball, but even prevented me from playing with my kids,” said Mourning. “Once I began treatment for kidney disease, my doctor explained that anemia was a treatable condition and prescribed PROCRIT(R) (Epoetin alfa), a medication that helped treat my anemia.” Individual results of PROCRIT(R) therapy may vary.

Today, Mourning has made a successful return to the NBA and has dedicated much of his life to helping others with kidney disease.

Via PRNewswire

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