Recognizing risks to kidney health

March is Kidney Month and the Kidney Foundation of WNY is working to raise awareness of risks to kidney health. The foundation is planning outreach events and free screenings in the community.  

In many cases, early detection, lifestyle changes and medical treatment can slow the progression of chronic kidney disease.

One in seven American adults has chronic kidney disease, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control. There may be no signs or symptoms in the early stages, so most people don’t know they have a health problem. Chronic kidney disease gets worse over time and can lead to kidney failure (end stage renal disease), requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant.

The toll of kidney disease is rising. An estimated 4,006 New Yorkers died due to chronic kidney disease in 2016, an increase of more than 33 percent from 2012.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney disease. Steps to protect kidney health include controlling blood pressure, controlling glucose for those with diabetes, choosing health foods, staying physically active, maintaining a healthy weight and getting a good night’s sleep.

Other risk factors include heart disease, obesity, lupus, a family history of kidney disease, and high cholesterol. The National Institutes of Health report that African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians are at high risk for developing kidney failure.

Blood and urine tests allow medical professionals to diagnose and monitor kidney disease. If you have one or more risk factors, talk with your doctor about your kidney health.

Information about kidney health and upcoming screenings is available from the Kidney Foundation of WNY at kfwny.com. The Buffalo-based nonprofit also offers resources for people with kidney disease, including peer support groups.

March screening events include:

  • Saturday, March 9 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Henry E. Wrobel Towers, 800 Niagara Ave., Niagara Falls, NY 14305.
  • Friday, March 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Amherst Center for Senior Services, 370 John James Audubon Parkway, Amherst, NY 14222.

To register for a screening, contact Barbara Breckenridge at 716-510-6702 or bbreckenridge@kfwny.org.