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Learning About the Risk for Kidney Disease

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People living with diabetes know that diabetes might affect their eyes, feet, and heart. But many don't realize that they also have to think about their kidneys. In fact, diabetes is the leading risk factor for kidney disease. High blood pressure is the second leading risk factor.

The National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP), an initiative of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has a number of helpful resources and materials to educate people at risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD). These materials help people and their loved ones understand the connection between diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease–and take steps to protect their kidneys.

For people with diabetes or high blood pressure, the NKDEP explains the key risk factors for CKD and the importance of getting tested in “Get Checked for Kidney Disease.” People need to get checked for kidney disease if they have one of these conditions. This brochure is also available in Spanish-language and specifically for African Americans.

NKDEP recently revamped its popular “Family Reunion Health Guide,” a manual for discussing kidney health and risk factors for kidney disease at family gatherings. The guide was redesigned and rewritten to offer additional planning tips and tools to communicate with family members prior to and after family reunions. It includes suggestions and tips for using social media, text messages, and email to engage families in supporting one another to keep their kidneys healthy.

Kidney disease doesn’t just affect adults. Children can also develop kidney disease, though the risk factors are different. The brochure “Is My Child at Risk for Kidney Disease?” explains risk factors for kidney disease, the importance of getting children's urine tested, and the availability of treatment.

Many people care deeply about helping their loved ones, their communities, and their membership to learn about kidney disease and to get tested. The redesigned “Get Involved,” section of NKDEP’s website features new information and tools to you talk with your family, talk with your faith community, and talk with your members about CKD. This section has quick ways to get involved now, and share the kidney health message through videos of real people, infographics, and other social media channels.

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