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We need to talk about kidney disease

Do you know how important the kidneys are to our overall health? Learn more in this sponsored post. 

I grew up in a Southern family who loved getting together. We loved our big Sunday dinners. The food was amazing! We’d have ice cold soda, and end with a delicious variety of desserts. It was a tradition.

Our family was full of love. It was also rife with different ailments and conditions that impacted the time we had to spend together. High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension were common among our elders. Over the years, family members started to receive those diagnosis even younger.

Everybody talked about those diseases. We all had folks in our immediate families who were afflicted by at least one of them. What we didn’t talk about, but that still affected us the same way those more common issues did was kidney disease.

What is kidney disease?

Having kidney disease means that your kidneys don’t perform its functions properly. A lot of people don’t know all that the kidney does. It removes waste from the body, regulates blood pressure, controls the production of red blood cells (which carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body), converts vitamin D to be used for energy, and controls PH levels. If your kidneys aren’t able to do those things, your quality of life will be greatly diminished.

Have you ever had to take your granny to dialysis? Had a great aunt that had to stop drinking her favorite sodas? It’s very likely that they had kidney disease. Dialysis is a medical procedure that does the job of kidneys when they’re failing, and keeps them healthy until they can receive a kidney transplant.

African Americans are getting healthier.

In the African American community, we’re doing much better know in terms of health issues than when I was growing up. You’ll be hard pressed to find fried chicken fried in lard like we used to eat. Collards are made without fatback. Instead of a whole pound of butter in the pound cake, we’re cutting back. We understand that heart disease and diabetes may be hereditary health issues. We know now that we don’t have to inherit them.

The same goes for our kidney health. Our kidneys are just as vital to our lives as our heart or lungs. Kidney disease might be passed on through the generations. However, just like we are changing the stats on other health issues, we can do the same for our kidneys.

I have two small children, and over the years, lots of things have changed for me health-wise. If I want to be here for my kids (which I do), I have to face head on some of the hereditary issues that have been in my family for years. Kidney disease is one of those things. Not knowing is not an option. My family needs me.

How can I make sure my kidneys are healthy?

First, I need to know the status of my kidney health. It starts with two easy tests at the doctor’s office, a urine and blood test. Then, I’m just going to ask, “How’re my kidneys, doc?”

My primary care physician can let me know how my kidneys are performing, and let me know if there are some red flags that need to be addressed. The good news is, the risk for kidney disease can be reduced by staying active, eating healthy, and getting regular check ups.

Just like there was a great push to educate our community about diabetes and heart disease causes and prevention, we have to do the same for our kidneys. You know the way some of us know stats for everything from Marvel movies to football? We need to know about our kidney stats.

More information on kidney health and a special request

If you want to learn more about kidney disease and how to prevent or treat it, head over to the National Kidney Foundation website. March is National Kidney Month. The National Kidney Foundation is raising money to continue patient focused treatment and research as part of the Heart Your Kidneys campaign. If you’d like to donate to the fundraiser, you can do so on Facebook.

Check out the National Kidney Foundation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the most up-to-date information about anything and everything kidneys!

I’m so thankful that my family members and I are all more informed about preventing various issues that have plagued our family for generations. The more we know about kidney disease, the more we can do to prevent it from continuing through the next generation. We can be the change.