ANN ARBOR – COVID has been in the news for over a year now, with the virus sometimes causing kidney injury and disease. The people who are affected permanently will join over one million Michiganders who currently struggle with chronic kidney disease (CKD). March is National Kidney Month and the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (NKFM) reminds everyone about the importance of keeping your kidneys working well and preventing CKD. The two main causes of CKD are type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
The kidneys are the body’s chemical factories, filtering waste and performing vital functions such as producing the hormones necessary for red blood cell production and controlling blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure or diabetes can damage the kidneys, while few or no physical symptoms warn you that your kidneys are in trouble. Once your kidneys fail, you must either start dialysis or have a kidney transplant.
If you have prediabetes (meaning that your blood sugar is a little over normal, with a possible risk of diabetes in the future), now is the time to consider a lifestyle change program called the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP).
The nationally-recognized, CDC-certified DPP can help delay or even prevent diabetes. In online DPP, as part of a small, supportive group, you can attend the program from the comfort of your own home or wherever you can access a computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. To be considered for an upcoming workshop, visit ReadySetPrevent.org to join a no-cost information session.
If you are already living with type 2 diabetes, consider taking an online Diabetes Personal Action Toward Health (PATH) workshop. Each six-week no-cost workshop features a facilitator working with a group to explore skills and tools to help people with diabetes and their loved ones lead healthier lives. The online PATH workshops are open to all adult residents in Michigan. No transportation needed! To find PATH programs, visit nkfm.org/PATH or mihealthyprograms.org. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-482-1455.
If you do not have access to the internet, call 800-482-1455 to discuss other options for the above programs.
Talk to your doctor if you think you may have prediabetes, high blood pressure or kidney disease. If you do not have a doctor because you do not have health care coverage, you can apply now for coverage, including Medicaid, at your local Department of Health and Human Services office, by visiting www.mibridges.michigan.gov or calling 1-855-789-5610.
Also, Michigan is holding a Health Insurance Marketplace special enrollment period from February 15, 2021 to May 15, 2021 for anyone who needs to apply for or re-enroll in a 2021 health plan. For assistance, visit localhelp.healthcare.gov or call the Marketplace Call Center at 800-318-2596. TTY users can call 1-855-889-4325.
About the NKFM
The mission of the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan is to prevent kidney disease and improve the quality of life for those living with it. The NKFM provides more programs and services to more people in Michigan than any other region or state. For the past 13 years, Charity Navigator — the nation’s leading nonprofit evaluator — has recognized the NKFM with its highest rating of 4 stars for success in sound fiscal management. nkfm.org