U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Talk with Your Family

You don't need to be an expert to be a kidney champion for your family. There are simple things you can do to get involved.

Put Your Family's Health First

A reunion is a great time to catch up with family. Why not also use this time to share health information? Show your family you care about their health by talking with them about the connection between diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.​​

women reading a book
"We wanted our family to take away from the NKDEP materials that they each hold their own destiny for healthy living and not to take their health for granted."
tree icon Wanda Phillips​
Mother, wife, family reunion planner, and kidney donor
family reunion book

Family Reunion Health Guide (PDF, 1.48 MB)

Family reunion planners – or anyone planning or attending a reunion or family gathering – can use this guide to help make kidney health a family affair.

Discuss Kidney Health with Your Family and Faith Community
Discuss Kidney Health with Your Family and Faith Community (3:50)

This video will teach you why it is important to talk about kidney health with your family and faith community.

You Can Start By:

1. Creating a family health chart
  Use a family tree or a tool like My Family Health Portrait from the Surgeon General to show loved ones how they inherit health conditions from other family members.

2. Developing a Facebook page for your upcoming reunion or family event
  Post important dates and other details about the event, including kidney health information, in one place.

3. Learning more about kidney health
  Sign up for our e-newsletter for monthly tips to share with your loved ones.

Simple Ways To Make a Big Difference

Post an infographic to Facebook
Share diabetes and kidney disease facts with your family and friends.

Email a kidney health message

Show your concern for your family’s health with a personalized note.

Hi Family,

I came across this information and thought it would be helpful. I recently learned that diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney failure. Many of us are living with diabetes and high blood pressure. Some of us may not know that these conditions put us at risk of developing kidney disease.

Kidney disease is serious. It can cause the kidneys to fail. This means a person must either go on dialysis or get a kidney transplant to live healthier longer. We have a family history of kidney failure, and that puts many of us at risk too. The good news is that there are things we can do to protect our kidneys.

Please read the attached information. If you are at risk for kidney disease, talk with your health care provider about getting tested and about other ways to protect your kidneys and stay healthy. Let’s make sure there are many more family reunions, birthdays, and family gatherings for all of us.

Let’s commit to supporting each other when it comes to our health. For more information about kidney disease, call 1-866-4-KIDNEY (1-866-454-3639) or visit nkdep.nih.gov. Join me online and like the Make the Kidney Connection page on Facebook (facebook.com/makethekidneyconnection).

With Love,
[Name here]

Have a conversation at home

Use our healthy eating tips to talk to your family about kidney disease at meal time.

The steps we take to keep our kidneys healthy help the rest of our bodies too.
Let’s help each other commit to a healthier lifestyle and follow these eating right tips.

- Cut back on salt. Aim for less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day.
- Use spices, herbs, and sodium-free seasonings in place of salt.
- Choose foods that are healthy for your heart: fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods.
- Bake, roast, stew, grill, broil, or stir-fry foods instead of frying.


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