Family legacy starts with health.
Talk about kidney health.
Use the Family Reunion Health Guide to discuss the connection between diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease at your next family reunion—or any family gathering. Encourage your family members to get tested if they have risk factors for kidney disease. You don't need to be a health professional; we'll show you how.
Family reunions are fun. You have a chance to talk about old times with relatives, honor ancestors, sample favorite family recipes, and enjoy being together. And while the family is together, it's also a great time to talk about family health. It's a great time to make the kidney connection.
This guide will help you talk to your family about kidney disease and its connection to diabetes and high blood pressure. You may know family members who have diabetes or high blood pressure or both. What you may not know is that diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of kidney failure, which affects African Americans more than other groups.
If you think your family members would be open to a short talk at your reunion—consider conducting this 15-minute Make the Kidney Connection health discussion. It presents a quick overview of the most important information your family members should know about kidney disease: how to know if they are at risk, how to get tested, and what can be done if they have kidney disease.
If you have a full weekend of activities for your family reunion, you may include this conversation during the reunion's opening reception/meet & greet dinner. Or you may carve out a time during the family picnic to talk about health. You also may decide the best opportunity to talk about kidney health is during the reunion's closing dinner, sending the family off with tips to live healthier until the next family gathering.
You can include health information at your reunion by talking one-on-one with family members at risk for kidney disease. You already may know which family members have diabetes or high blood pressure, or you may need to ask others in your family to help you identify them.
Start a conversation with these family members, and help them make the connection between their diabetes or high blood pressure and their kidney function. If your family has a family history of kidney failure, be sure to emphasize that connection.
Tips for approaching family members.
Sometimes it can be awkward talking to family members one-on-one about personal health issues. Keep these tips in mind when approaching family members at risk:
Technology makes it easier to connect with family members. You don't have to wait until your family reunion to talk about the family's health.
With this message template you may personalize and email a note to family members. Personalize and copy and paste this note into the body of an email, a Facebook message, a newsletter, or a blog template. If your family reunion has a website or your family has a blog, refine and post this message.
You also may attach a PDF of the NKDEP Questions & Answers About the Kidneys and Kidney Disease fact sheet to the email to share it with your loved ones. You can post this message as a note on Facebook, tagging family members and loved ones. You also may include the message in your family reunion newsletter.
I came across this information and thought it would be helpful for many of us who are managing diabetes and high blood pressure. I recently learned that diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney failure. Some of us may know that we have diabetes or high blood pressure, but may not know that these conditions put us at risk of developing kidney disease.
Kidney disease is serious—it can cause the kidneys to fail, which means a person must either go on dialysis or get a kidney transplant. We have a family history of kidney failure, and that puts many of us at risk, too. The good news is that there are things we can do to protect our kidneys.
Please read the attached information. If you are at risk for kidney disease, talk to your doctor or health care provider about getting tested and about other ways to protect your kidneys and stay healthy. Let's make sure there are many more family reunions, birthdays and family gatherings for all of us.
Let's commit to supporting each other when it comes to our health.
For more information about kidney disease, call 1-866-4-KIDNEY (1-866-454-3639) or visit www.nkdep.nih.gov. Join me online and like the Make the Kidney Connection page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/makethekidneyconnection).
1. Do something you enjoy. Dance to the radio. Plan active outings with a friend, family member, or group.
2. Form a group of people to walk, jog, or bike together. Working out with videos in your home, or walking in a shopping mall also are fun.Share Your Ideas
3. A little activity goes a long way. Do 10 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity three times a day.
4. You can be active and still keep your hairstyle. Talk to your hair stylist about a hair care routine and style that fit your active life.
5. Park your car farther away from entrances of stores, movie theaters, or your home and walk the extra distance when it is safe to do so.
6. Do physical activities you really like. The more fun you have, the more likely you will do it each day.
7. Set both short-term and long-term goals to keep motivated.
8. Put more energy than normal into activities like housework, yard work, and playing with the kids.
9. Did you know? A modest weight loss of 5 to 7 percent—for example, 10 to 15 pounds for a 200-pound person—can delay and possibly prevent type 2 diabetes. Get active.
1. When eating out, have a big vegetable salad—easy on the dressing, then split an entrée with a friend, or have the other half wrapped to go.
2. Try lower-sodium versions of frozen dinners and other convenience foods.
3. Rinse canned vegetables, beans, meats, and fish with water before eating.
4. Keep a bowl of fruit on the table, bags of mini carrots in the refrigerator, and boxes of raisins in the cupboard. These are simple ways to eat more fruits and vegetables.
5. Try not to keep a lot of sweets like cookies, candy, or soda in the house, car, or workplace. Too many sweets can crowd out healthier foods.
6. If you do go to a fast food restaurant, try a salad or a grilled chicken sandwich (not fried) instead of a burger.
7. Encourage members of your place of worship to bring healthier food options to events.
8. Add some fresh fruits like strawberries, blueberries, or bananas to your cereal. You will add some sweetness to your breakfast while sneaking in a serving of fruit.
9. Instead of french fries, try mashed potatoes made with fat-free milk, or have a baked potato topped with a vegetable or fruit salsa.
10. Dessert doesn’t have to be off limits, as long as it’s a part of a healthy meal plan or combined with physical activity.
11. Focus on whole grain carbohydrates since they are a good source of fiber and they are digested slowly, keeping blood sugar levels more even.
12. Fight hypertension! Reduce your sodium and opt for lower-sodium food choices.
Page last updated: August 10, 2012