March is National Kidney Month ‑ Heart your Kidneys to stay healthy

The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan reminds Michiganders to take care of their kidneys in March, National Kidney Month

FLINT, MICH. – (March 6, 2019) – More than 900,000 Michigan adults have chronic kidney disease (CKD) and most don’t know it. March is National Kidney Month and the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan reminds Michiganders about the importance of a healthy lifestyle to keep kidneys functioning optimally.

The kidneys are the body’s chemical factories, filtering waste and performing vital functions such as producing red blood cells and controlling blood pressure. But over time, the kidneys can become damaged with little or no physical symptoms to warn you that your kidneys are in trouble.

Obesity is one of the biggest contributors to kidney disease. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan has one of the highest obesity rates in the nation – 32 percent of adults and 17 percent of youth are obese. People who are overweight or obese have a greater chance of developing diabetes or high blood pressure, which are the leading causes of kidney disease and kidney failure.

The good news is that obesity, as well as CKD, can be prevented. Here are steps to get started:

  1. Eat healthier. Focus on eating smaller portions and drinking water rather than sugary drinks. Choose low-salt options. Eat fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables. Try healthier variations of your comfort food or high-calorie recipes.
  2. Move more. Physical activity is essential for healthy living. Your goal should be 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week. This can include brisk walking, biking or dancing. The NKFM offers EnhanceFitness (EF) ongoing classes, designed for adults to improve functional fitness and well-being, at various sites in Genesee County. For more information on EF classes, call 800-482-1455 or visit To find additional EF classes, visit
  3. Prevent diabetes. If you have been identified as having prediabetes, consider taking the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), an evidence-based lifestyle change program that is making a difference in the lives of thousands of Michiganders by helping them reduce the risk, delay the onset or prevent diabetes. Find out your risk via the risk test at Find upcoming DPP classes on the website or call 800-482-1455.
  4. Finally, talk to your doctor. Ask about your risk factors for kidney disease, and ask to be tested for kidney disease. If you do not have a doctor because you do not have health insurance, consider applying for health care coverage, including Medicaid, through your local Department of Health and Human Services office. You can also apply online at or call 1-855-789-5610.

On March 14, 2019, join the worldwide celebration of World Kidney Day by wearing orange and sharing your photos on social media with @KidneyMI. To learn more about the risk factors for kidney disease, visit

Background/Kidney Disease Facts:

  • 26 million American adults (age 20+) have chronic kidney disease.
  • More than 900,000 Michigan adults (age 20+) have chronic kidney disease.
  • Individuals with diabetes and high blood pressure are at higher risk for developing chronic kidney disease.
  • African Americans are nearly 3.5 times more likely to develop kidney failure from diabetes than Caucasians.
  • Older individuals, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans and Arab Americans are all at higher risk for kidney disease.
  • Kidney disease costs American taxpayers nearly $100 billion every year.
  • As the incidence of obesity in children increases, so does the rate of type 2 diabetes, which is a leading cause of kidney failure. One in three kids born in 2000 will develop diabetes.
  • More than 2,300 people were waiting for a lifesaving kidney transplant in Michigan on January 1, 2019.

About NKFM
The mission of the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan is to prevent kidney disease and improve the quality of life for those living with it. The NKFM provides more programs and services to more people in Michigan than any other region or state. For the past 11 years, Charity Navigator—the nation’s leading nonprofit evaluator—has recognized the NKFM with its highest rating of 4 stars for success in sound fiscal management.

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