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Family Reunion Season
By Sentinel Staff Writer
Published July 24, 2008

This family reunion season address your family’s kidney health kidney disease and the African American community

Family reunions are filled with joy, laughter and lots of family fun. It’s the time of year when new and old faces gather to share stories of family traditions, news and history.

It’s also the perfect time to help improve the health of your loved ones. Many of us have parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure, but few in our community know that these conditions are also the two leading causes of kidney disease. Kidney disease affects millions of Americans, but disproportionately affects African Americans.

“Early kidney disease has no symptoms, so it’s important for people with diabetes and high blood pressure to be aware of the risks and to get tested,” said Dr. Griffin Rodgers, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. “The earlier the disease is found, the sooner we can start treatment to maintain your kidney health.”

To increase awareness about kidney disease in the African-American community, the National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP), offers a Family Reunion Initiative designed to increase dialogue about kidney health at family reunions nationwide.

NKDEP developed a easy to use Family Reunion Health Guide that contains everything you need to share important health information related to the connection between diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease with your family.

“We know family gatherings are an important part of the summer in our communities,” Dr. Rodgers said. “While you’re sharing these special times with your family, we encourage you to also have important conversations about health. Many of the kidney disease risk factors run in families, so your family reunion is the perfect time to talk about how you and your family can get tested for kidney disease and maintain your kidney health.”

So, this summer, as you enjoy your family reunion, take charge of your health:

 Write a note to a family member. Sometimes a simple note letting your loved ones know their health is important to you is all you need. The NKDEP Family Reunion Health Guide provides you with a sample note to help you develop your own personal letter.

Once you’ve written your note, you can make copies of it and attach it to the questions and answers about the kidneys and kidney disease fact sheet to share with your family.

Talk One-on-One with a Loved One

You can include health information at your reunion by talking one-on-one with family members with diabetes or high blood pressure and explaining how these conditions can lead to kidney disease-making the “kidney connection.” Start a conversation with these family members, and help them make the connection between their diabetes or high blood pressure and their risk for kidney disease. And encourage them to get tested for kidney disease.

Connection Health Discussion

Find a way to add a 15-minute health discussion to the family reunion day of activities.

The NKDEP Family Reunion Health Guide provides you with talking points on the most important information your family members should know about kidney disease.

Increasing awareness about kidney disease is an important step you can take to improve the health of your family. To get your family off to a healthy start this reunion season, visit to order or download a free copy of the NKDEP Family Reunion Health Guide and learn more about maintaining your family’s kidney health.

Categories: News (Family)

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