ANN ARBOR — March is National Kidney Month and March 14 is World Kidney Day. The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan is encouraging all Michigan residents to give their kidneys a well-deserved check up and learn more about kidney disease in order to prevent or delay its onset.
Your kidneys have a critical role: they filter 200 liters of blood a day, help regulate blood pressure, and direct red blood cell production. But they are also prone to disease; 1 in 3 Americans is at risk for kidney disease due to diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney disease. Early kidney disease has no symptoms and can become kidney failure with little or no warning, which is why it has been called the “silent killer.” There are more than 900,000 Michigan adults who already have kidney disease, and most don’t know it.
Although kidney disease is often underdiagnosed and undertreated, it can be treated and prevented or delayed. Together, diabetes and hypertension lead to over 70% of kidney failure cases. By controlling your diabetes, prediabetes, or hypertension, the chances of developing kidney disease can be reduced. For individuals with any of these health conditions, it is important to create a realistic set of goals for yourself to improve your health. Some small steps include: setting weight loss goals, making healthy food choices every day, and striving to become more physically active.
Older individuals, many racial minorities (including African Americans and Hispanics), and those with a family history are also at an increased risk for developing chronic kidney disease and should make an appointment to have their kidneys evaluated. In addition to having your kidneys checked, developing a kidney-friendly lifestyle will help you reduce the chance of getting kidney disease. This consists of eating well-balanced meals, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and monitoring your blood pressure.
During National Kidney Month in March, and in honor of World Kidney Day on March 14, the NKFM will offer the following health activities to promote awareness of kidney failure and kidney disease, risk factors such as diabetes, and improving your overall health to prevent and control health complications:
ï‚· Kidney and health screenings
ï‚· Disease management workshops
ï‚· Health fairs with resources and information
ï‚· Community meetings and education opportunities
Help fight kidney disease in Michigan during National Kidney Month! For more information about preventing and controlling kidney disease, or details about local events and workshops during Kidney Month, please visit www.nkfm.org or call the NKFM at 800-482-1455.