National Kidney Foundation highlights local programs during National Kidney Month 


ANN ARBOR, MICH. – 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 (NKFM) reminds Michiganders about the importance of keeping your kidneys working well. African Americans are nearly 3.5 times more likely to develop kidney failure from diabetes than Caucasians. Older people, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans and Arab Americans are all at higher risk for kidney disease.

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

Obesity is one of the biggest contributors to kidney disease, causing kidney damage by increasing the kidneys’ workload. People who are overweight or obese have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, which are the leading causes of kidney disease and kidney failure.

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 are two to seven times more likely to have their kidneys shut down completely, requiring them to start dialysis or receive a kidney transplant.

The good news is that type 2 diabetes and kidney disease can be prevented or managed by improving your health. Here are some suggested steps and programs from the NKFM:

  • Learn to manage your diabetes or kidney disease. If you have a chronic disease such as diabetes or kidney disease, consider joining an NKFM Personal Action Toward Health (PATH) course. PATH workshops provide skills and tools to help people with long-term health problems and their loved ones lead healthier lives. The NKFM offers PATH programs at no cost to participants. A Kidney PATH course is coming up in Ypsilanti in March:

Kidney PATH – (for people living with kidney disease, on dialysis or who have a transplant)
Ellen Thompson Women’s Health Center
Classroom 2
5320 Elliott Drive
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Classes held Mondays, 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Information Session – Monday, March 25 – 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Eight sessions total: April 1, 8, 22, 29; May 6, 13, 27, June 6 (No class April 15 or May 20)
To register, contact PATH Programs at 800-482-1455 or email

To find additional PATH programs in Michigan, or

  • 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 Upcoming DPP classes are also listed on the site.
  • 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 Washtenaw County. For more information on EF classes, call 800-482-1455 or visit To find additional EF classes, visit
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Eat smaller portions and drink water rather than sugary drinks. Choose low-salt options. Eat fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. Try healthier variations of high-calorie recipes.
  • Finally, talk to your doctor.  Ask about your risk factors for kidney disease, and whether you should be tested.

To find a local program or event near you, or 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.
  • 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 February 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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