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 your 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. Obesity is defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. 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.
Obesity can also cause direct kidney damage by increasing the kidneys’ workload. Also, people who are overweight or obese are two to seven times more likely to develop end-stage renal disease, compared to those of normal weight. This means that their kidneys will shut down completely, requiring them to be on dialysis or receive a kidney transplant.
The good news is that obesity, as well as CKD, can be prevented. Here are three steps to get started:
- Maintain a healthy diet. Focus on eating smaller portions and drinking water rather than sugary drinks. Choose low-sodium options. Eat fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables. Try healthier variations of your comfort food or high-calorie recipes.
- Engage in regular exercise. Physical activity is essential for healthy weight reduction. Your goal should be 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week. This can include brisk walking, biking or dancing. The NKFM offers Enhance Fitness weekly ongoing classes, designed for adults to improve functional fitness and well-being, including the following local classes:
Turner Senior Resource Center
2401 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays, 1:10 – 2:10 p.m.
For more info, call 734–998–9353
Classes are no cost; donations accepted.
- Finally, get an annual physical examination. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors for kidney disease, and ask to be tested for kidney disease. You can also talk to your doctor about a weight loss program that is right for you. If you do not have a doctor because you do not have health care coverage, consider applying for health care coverage, including Medicaid, through your local Department of Health and Human Services office. You can also apply onlinewww.mibridges.michigan.govor call 1-855-789-5610.
To learn more about the risk factors for kidney disease, visit www.nkfm.org/KidneyMonth.
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 2,800 people were waiting for a lifesaving kidney transplant in Michigan on February 1, 2017.
About the 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 is widely known for providing more programs and services to more people than any other region or state. The organization was recognized for its success in sound fiscal management by receiving a 4-star rating, 10 years in a row, from Charity Navigator—the nation’s leading charity evaluator. nkfm.org