For National Kidney Month, Take Five for Your Kidneys and Get Involved

March 1, 2016

March is National Kidney Month and the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois is calling on all Illinois residents 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. However, over time, the kidneys can become damaged with little or no physical symptoms to warn you that they are in trouble.

Here are a few simple actions people can take to keep their kidneys healthy and strong.

Take 5 for Your Kidneys:

  1. Get Tested! Get screened for free through the KidneyMobile® health screening program by visiting and finding a screening location near you. Also, ask your doctor for an ACR 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 disease.
  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 contain significant amounts of sodium, nitrates and phosphates, and have been linked to cancer, heart disease and kidney disease.
  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. Stay Well Hydrated. Staying well hydrated helps your kidneys clear sodium, urea and toxins from the body. Drinking plenty of water, and avoiding sugary beverages, is also one of the best ways to avoid painful kidney stones. Those with kidney problems or kidney failure may need to restrict their fluid intake, but for most people, drinking 1.5 to 2 liters (3 to 4 pints) of water per day is a healthy target.

To learn more about your kidneys and to improve your kidney health, join the NKFI at one of many events being hosted throughout the month.

To participate in a free kidney health screening through the KidneyMobile screening program, here are the dates and locations for the month of March:

  1. Thursday, March 3rd from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Hall (4521 S. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL 60609)
  2. On World Kidney Day, Thursday, March 10th from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm at Casa Jalisco (1600 W. Lake St., Melrose Park, IL 60160)
  3. Tuesday, March 15th from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm at Albany Park Community Center (5101 N. Kimball Ave., Chicago, IL 60625)
  4. Thursday, March 24th from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm at Presence St. Mary’s Hospital – Franco Conference Center (500 W. Court St., Kankakee, IL 60901)

Additional free screening dates with locations throughout the state are listed on the KidneyMobile screening calendar at

If you are affected by kidney disease, join us for the Living with Kidney Disease Educational Seminar on Saturday, March 19th at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare (8535 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL 60631).

Additionally, the NKFI will be launching a new program during Kidney Month called Build a Better Basket for Kidney Health. This program will take place virtually, so you can join us from the comfort of your own home. On March 4, March 22 and March 28, we will be live on the Periscope App at Jewel-Osco grocery stores, giving tips and tricks for healthy grocery store shopping. Learn about reading a food label, understanding ingredient lists, nutrition tips to help you enjoy your favorite foods, which aisles to avoid, tips for keeping your kidneys healthy, goal setting for good health, and much more.

One in nine American adults is affected by kidney disease, so it is an important public health issue. Of the 26 million American adults estimated to have kidney disease, most do not know they have it.

About the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois
The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois improves the health and well-being of people at risk for and affected by kidney disease through prevention, education and empowerment.