EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Kidney diseases are the ninth leading cause of death in the U.S. Despite that fact, most people with kidney diseases are unaware they are affected.

It’s why a current awareness campaign is stressing the importance of prevention and early detection of kidney diseases.

Kidney disease strikes more than 37 million people in the U.S. That’s one in nine Americans. What’s more astounding?

“90 percent of people living with kidney disease don’t know they have it which is a staggering number. It’s a silent disease until very late in the course,” said Doctor Susan Quaggin, FASN, and President of the American Society of Nephrology.

Dr. Quaggin says one in three Americans are actually at risk of developing kidney disease.

“If you have diabetes or high blood pressure or a family history of kidney disease or obesity, you are at increased risk of developing kidney disease so really important to know your risk,” Dr. Quaggin explained.

There is one way to determine your risk: get screened.

“It’s a very simple blood and urine test, and knowing early on can allow us to provide treatments that really slow or halt the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure,” Dr. Quaggin continued.

Developments of new and improved treatments are what Dr. Quaggin calls a revolution in her field.

“In the past five years alone, we’ve seen an explosion of new treatments available to treat some of the commonest causes of kidney disease associated with diabetes and chronic kidney disease,” Dr. Quaggin added.

The American Society of Nephrology has launched an awareness campaign called We’re United 4 Kidney Health.

It also partners with other organizations including the National Kidney Foundation to move America forward from kidney diseases and failure to kidney health.

“I feel we keep the pressure on, we get awareness out, we are really in for a terrific time for kidney health,” said Dr. Quaggin.

With the holiday season here, Dr. Quaggin considers it the perfect time to discuss kidney health with your loved ones.