March is National Kidney Month and the National Kidney Foundation is calling on everyone to take five healthy steps for their kidneys.

The kidneys are the body’s chemical factories, filtering waste and performing vital functions that control things like red blood cell production and blood pressure. But over time, the kidneys can become damaged with little or no physical symptoms to warn you that your kidneys are in trouble.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, 26 million American adults estimated to have kidney disease, most don’t know they have it. That’s why taking care of your kidneys, especially if you are at risk for kidney disease, is so important. Here are a few simple things people can do to keep their kidneys healthy and strong.

Keeping Your Kidneys Healthy

Everyone can do 5 simple things to protect their kidneys:

  1. Get Tested! Ask your doctor for a urine test or a GFR blood test annually if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, are over age 60, or have a family history of kidney failure (AHF offers a test with a GFR in it, please see below).
  2. Reduce NSAIDs. Over the counter pain medicines, such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), may alleviate your aches and pains, but they can harm the kidneys, especially if you already have kidney disease. Reduce your regular use of NSAIDs and never go over the recommended dosage.
  3. Cut the Processed Foods. Processed foods can be significant sources of sodium, nitrates and phosphates, and have been linked to cancer, heart disease and kidney disease. Try adopting the DASH diet to guide your healthy eating habits.
  4. Exercise Regularly. Your kidneys like it when you exercise. Regular exercise will keep your bones, muscles, blood vessels, heart and kidneys healthy. Getting active for at least 30 minutes a day can also help you control blood pressure and lower blood sugar, which is vital to kidney health.
  5. Control Blood Pressure and Diabetes. High blood pressure and diabetes are the leading causes of kidney disease and kidney failure. Managing high blood pressure and strict control of blood sugar levels can slow the progression of kidney disease. Speak with your doctor if you are having trouble managing diabetes or high blood pressure.

Kidney Facts

  • 1 in 3 American adults is at high risk for developing kidney disease today.
    High blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of kidney failure and being over 60 are major risk factors for developing kidney disease.
  • 1 in 9 American adults has kidney disease — and most don’t know it.
  • Early detection and treatment can slow or prevent the progression of kidney disease.
  • Kidney disease risk can be reduced by controlling blood pressure and blood sugar, quitting smoking, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding excessive use of pain medications

Alaska Health Fair offers the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) that include tests for kidney function.

What is a CMP?

A CMP is a simple and safe blood test. The test provides important information about your body’s chemical balance and metabolism, which is the way in which your body uses food and energy. Some of the tests included in the CMP provide information about your:
• Kidneys
• Electrolytes
• Calcium
• Protein
• Liver
• Blood sugar

Getting a CMP can be part of a routine check-up or if your healthcare professional suspects liver or kidney disease. Since kidney disease has few symptoms in its early stages, frequent testing is the best way to catch it, so requesting this test is a great way to keep a better eye on your kidney function and overall health.

Submitted by
Linda Vlastuin, RN, AHF Health Educator

Did you know, AHF offers free health education classes? Click here to learn more.

* * *

Get Affordable, Comprehensive Blood Tests at AHF Health Fairs

View event schedule and set appointment online here. Walk-ins are welcome at all health fairs!

Thousands of Alaskans take advantage of AHF‘s affordable blood tests each year. We offer this service in partnership with atoprankingclinical laboratory used by local providers, and offered through AHF at nonprofit pricing.

  • 27 panels – Comprehensive Blood Chemistry Screen – covers infection, anemia, liver disease, clotting ability, kidney and adrenal function, liver function, bone disease, tissue disease or damage, heart function, liver function, muscle function, coronary heart disease, & more – $45
  • Thyroid Screen – $35
  • Prostate Disease Screen – $25
  • Vitamin D Screen – $50
  • A1C diabetes – $25
  • Blood Typing – $20
  • More tests and details on our website,

People with diabetes should not fast. Check with your medical provider for specific recommendations. You areencouragedtodrinkplentyofwater and continue to take prescription medications. Credit cards, cash, and checks are accepted,and resultsaremaileddirectly to youwithin3 weeks. View detailed test descriptions.

About Alaska Health Fair, Inc.

Alaska Health Fair has been a trusted resource for the Alaska community since 1980. Our unique event model allows attendees to access free health education, free health screenings, and private, comprehensive, affordable blood tests. Every year, thousands of Alaskans attend our events in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and many other communities throughout the state. Come and join us to learn about the health and wellness resources available in your community; make attending Alaska Health Fair a family tradition!