Lifestyle choices can protect kidney health

By Jeremy Morlock

March is designated as National Kidney Month, with the goal of raising awareness about preventing kidney disease and detecting it early.

An estimated 37 million people in the United States have chronic kidney disease. As many as 9 in 10 people with kidney disease don’t know they have it. The Kidney Foundation of Western New York (KFWNY) encourages everyone to know about the biggest risk factors for kidney disease, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and family history of kidney failure. KFWNY is also calling attention to the importance of early identification and treatment to help to slow kidney damage and prevent additional health problems.

Additionally, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases provides some tips for building a personalized path to better kidney care.

  • Partner with your health team to create a treatment plan that fits your lifestyle, mobility, health status, and dietary needs.
  • Create a healthy meal plan with foods and beverages you enjoy.
  • Choose physical activities you can stick to, aiming for at least 30 each day.
  • Maintain a healthy weight — and if overweight, losing even small amounts of weight can help to relieve strain on your heart and kidneys.
  • Develop a sleep routine that aims for seven to eight hours each night.
  • Take steps to quit smoking and limit alcohol.
  • Stay up to date on recommended vaccines, including COVID-19 and the flu.

New York State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes has planned a free community kidney health screening with the foundation on Saturday, March 5 from 10 am to noon at Jericho Road Community Health Center, 4th floor, 1021 Broadway, Buffalo, NY 14212. Register in advance at 716-529-4392 or email

On Thursday, March 10, many local sights will be lit up in yellow and blue to call attention to World Kidney Day. Niagara Falls will be illuminated for 15 minutes starting at 10 p.m. Individuals who want to observe the falls from the park must follow public health guidelines. The Peace Bridge will be illuminated in yellow and blue from dusk until 1 a.m., and the exteriors of many Buffalo landmarks will also be illuminated that evening. Additional information is available at

Here in Buffalo, the Regional Center of Excellence for Transplantation and Kidney Care at Erie County Medical Center treats patients at every stage of kidney disease or kidney failure. ECMC is also the only medical center in Buffalo that offers both kidney and pancreas transplants.
Learn more about the breadth of these services at For more information about kidney transplants, kidney disease, resources for patients and families, and other related topics, visit,, and

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