Screening Kicks Off a Month of Programs

By Jeremy Morlock

March is National Kidney Month and this year’s theme is “Get to Know Your Kidneys,” calling attention to an often overlooked but always important organ. Kidneys remove toxins and excess fluid from blood, balance electrolytes, and help to control blood pressure. Each day, the kidneys filter all the blood in a person’s body up to 25 times.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of chronic kidney disease, a condition in which kidneys become damaged over time, losing their ability to adequately filter blood. The disease can go undetected until a person permanently loses most of their kidney function.

If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, a family history of kidney disease, or are over 65, the National Institutes of Health advise that you talk with a health care professional about your risk for kidney disease. Blood and urine tests can detect kidney problems, allowing for better disease management and helping to avoid health complications.

The Kidney Foundation of Western New York and State Assemblymember Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes are planning a free community kidney health screening on Saturday, March 2. The event will run from 9 to 11 a.m. at Bennett High School, 2885 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14214. To register, call the foundation at 716-529-4390 or email

The Peace Bridge and other landmarks will be illuminated in yellow, blue, and green the evening of Thursday, March 14 for World Kidney Day. Chronic kidney disease affects more than 850 million people worldwide.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases suggests the following steps to protect kidney health:

  • Choose foods that are healthy for your heart and your entire body: fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
  • Be active for 30 minutes or more on most days.
  • If you are overweight or have obesity, work with your health care provider or dietitian to create a realistic weight-loss plan.
  • Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • If you smoke or use other tobacco products, stop.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Explore stress-reducing activities.
  • Manage diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

The Kidney Foundation of Western New York offers resources relating to kidney disease, treatment options, and kidney donation. People with kidney disease, caregivers, family members, and supporters can become members of the foundation for free at Members receive updates on kidney health topics, event invitations, and can provide input on future community programs.

Jeremy Morlock is Director of the Kidney Foundation of Western New York.