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March 1, 2022 – COVID has been in the news for two years, 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! New no-cost programs are starting March 9, March 22, and April 7. To find additional PATH programs, visit nkfm.org/PATH or mihealthyprograms.org. For more information, email pathprograms@nkfm.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 mibridges.michigan.gov or calling 1-855-789-5610.