NIDDK Director's Update Spring 2024

Health Information Updates

Shining a spotlight on kidney health: Get to know the kidneys

The kidneys play a vital role in keeping the body functioning and are very important to overall health.

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located just below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine. Working around the clock, kidneys filter approximately 150 quarts of blood each day, removing waste and extra fluid from the body.

People can get kidney disease at any age, even children. Kidney disease means the kidneys are damaged and can't filter blood the way they should. Early on, kidney disease often has no symptoms. In fact, as many as 90% of people who have kidney disease don’t know they have it.

Taking steps to protect kidney health can help keep the body healthy and may prevent or slow the progression of kidney disease. Even small steps can make a big difference, and it’s never too early to start.

Experts recommend that people talk with a health care professional about kidney disease risk factors and develop a plan together to address those risks. People with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, a history of acute kidney injury, or a family history of kidney disease may be at a higher risk for kidney disease.

“People over 60 or who have risk factors for kidney disease at any age should ask a health care professional about getting tested for kidney disease,” said NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers. “Testing involves a blood and a urine test. The earlier kidney disease is identified, the sooner your kidneys may be protected from further damage.

To learn more about kidney health this National Kidney Month, visit the NIDDK website at and follow NIDDK on social media @NIDDKgov.

It takes time to build healthy habits, but the benefits to your health are worth it. Start small and reach out for support when needed.

Diabetes Alert Day: Understand the risk of developing diabetes

Diabetes Alert Day is a one-day “wake-up call” to remind people about the seriousness of diabetes and encourages people to find out if they or someone they love is at risk for type 2 diabetes. Observed annually on the fourth Tuesday in March, this year’s Diabetes Alert Day was held on March 26, 2024.

Man completing diabetes risk assessment.

People can measure their risk by taking a quick and simple Diabetes Risk Test.

Someone is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if they:

  • Are overweight or have obesity.
  • Are age 35 or older.
  • Have a family history of diabetes.
  • Are African American, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, or Pacific Islander.
  • Are not physically active because of physical limitations, a sedentary lifestyle, or a job that requires sitting for long periods of time.
  • Have prediabetes.
  • Have a history of gestational diabetes—a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy—or gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more.

Approximately 11.6% of the adult population in the United States has diabetes. That’s 38.4 million people, and 22.8% of them don’t know they have it.

The sooner people know if they are at risk, the sooner they can take steps to prevent or manage diabetes. To learn more about Diabetes Alert Day and preventing type 2 diabetes, visit

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