Though nearly 30 million adults in the United States are affected by kidney disease; most are not diagnosed until there is permanent damage.
March is National Kidney Month, calling awareness for the need to check your kidney health and begin a conversation with your health care provider.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases indicate that if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, or a family history of kidney failure or heart disease, you are at a greater risk for kidney disease.
The NIH recommends asking your health care provider the following three questions to start a conversation about kidney health.
Have I been tested for kidney disease and how healthy are my kidneys? To check for kidney disease, health care providers use blood and urine tests.
How often should I get my kidneys checked? Your health care provider will help decide how often you should be tested. If you have diabetes, for example, you should get tested every year.
What should I do to keep my kidneys healthy? You can help protect yourself from kidney disease and its causes–diabetes and high blood pressure–by adopting a healthy lifestyle for your entire family.
Statistics also indicate kidney failure affects African Americans more than other groups. The National Kidney Disease Education Program has recently developed a new initiative, Kidney Sundays, recognizing that increasingly, more people are turning to places of worship to get accurate, useful information about issues affecting African Americans.
The NKDEP has developed a guide for faith-based communities on making the kidney connection and offers a tool-kit to help get the message out and start a conversation about kidney disease.
The Kidney Sundays Toolkit provides faith-based organizations with the tools and materials they need to include kidney health messages in programs and events. For more information, visit: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/communication-programs/nkdep/get-involved/national-kidney-month