Background/Aims: The association between chronic kidney disease (CKD) awareness and healthy behaviors is unknown. We examined whether CKD self-recognition is associated with healthy behaviors and achieving risk-reduction targets known to decrease risk of cardiovascular morbidity and CKD progression. Methods: CKD awareness, defined as a ‘yes’ response to ‘Has a doctor or other health professional ever told you that you had kidney disease?’, was examined among adults with CKD (eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m2) who participated in the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. Odds of participation in healthy behaviors (tobacco avoidance, avoidance of regular nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use, and physical activity) and achievement of risk-reduction targets (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor/angiotensin receptor blocker use, systolic blood pressure control and glycemic control among those with diabetes) among those aware versus unaware of their CKD were determined by logistic regression, controlling for sociodemographics, access to care and comorbid conditions. Systolic blood pressure control was defined as <130 mm Hg (primary definition) or <140 mm Hg (secondary definition). Results: Of 2,615 participants, only 6% (n = 166) were aware of having CKD. Those who were aware had 82% higher odds of tobacco avoidance compared to those unaware (adjusted OR = 1.82, 95% CI 1.02–3.24). CKD awareness was not associated with other healthy behaviors or achievement of risk-reduction targets. Conclusions: Awareness of CKD was only associated with participation in one healthy behavior and was not associated with achievement of risk-reduction targets. To encourage adoption of healthy behaviors, a better understanding of barriers to participation in CKD-healthy behaviors is needed.
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