Most people with kidney disease don’t know they have it. March is National Kidney Month and the Kidney Foundation of Western New York is encouraging everyone to learn more about their kidney health.

More than 37 million Americans have chronic kidney disease – that’s about one in seven adults. The disease is underdiagnosed since a person may lose up to 90 percent of their kidney function before symptoms develop.

The Kidney Foundation encourages people to know about the biggest risk factors for kidney disease, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and family history of kidney failure. Early identification and treatment may help to slow kidney damage and prevent additional health problems.

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“It’s important to talk with your medical provider about kidney health, especially if you’re at higher risk of kidney disease,” said Kidney Foundation Director Jeremy Morlock.

The theme for National Kidney Month 2021 is “Managing Chronic Kidney Disease,” urging people to take charge of their health.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has provided these healthy lifestyle tips to take charge of kidney health:

  • Meet regularly with your health care team. Staying connected with your doctor, whether in-person or using telehealth via phone or computer, can help you maintain your kidney health.
  • Manage blood pressure and monitor blood glucose levels. Work with your health care team to develop a plan to meet your blood pressure goals and check your blood glucose level regularly if you have diabetes.
  • Take medicine as prescribed and avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen. Your pharmacist and doctor need to know about all the medicines you take.
  • Aim for a healthy weight. Create a healthy meal plan and consider working with your doctor to develop a weight-loss plan that works for you.
  • Reduce stress and make physical activity part of your routine. Consider healthy stress-reducing activities and get at least 30 minutes or more of physical activity each day.
  • Make time for sleep. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
  • Quit smoking. If you smoke, take steps to quit.

The Kidney Foundation of Western New York will be sharing kidney health information through online videos and activities this month. Information is available at kfwny.org and through social media.

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The Kidney Foundation of Western New York works to increase awareness of kidney disease, provide education on kidney health, and support patients and their families. The locally based non-profit serves Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties.