Take Action for Health

Kidney Health: Act

Get a regular kidney function screening. Have a health care provider check your blood and/or urine and then ask when you should be checked again. Below are some things that can make it hard to get regular screenings, and what you can do about them.

Learn more about kidney health at www.kidney.org.

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Here are some online tools to help you find a doctor or nurse in your community: National Medical Association (NMA) Physician Locator. The NMA represents African American doctors, and can help you find an African American doctor in your area. Visit your insurance plan’s website to find a doctor in your area. Most health insurance providers have a “Find a Doctor” feature on their websites.

Chances are you’re not the only one in your family, circle of friends or community with chronic kidney disease. But if you’re feeling alone, the National Kidney Foundation offers help navigating the challenges of kidney disease. Their Patient Information Help Line, NKF Cares offers support for people affected by kidney disease, organ donation or transplantation. It's designed just for patients, family members and caregivers. Speak with a trained professional who will answer your questions and listen to your concerns. NKF Cares is available Monday - Friday from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm Eastern Time. Call toll-free at 1.855.NKF.CARES (1.855.653.2273) or email nkfcares [at] kidney.org.

Your family doctor can provide kidney disease screenings.

Getting to your kidney disease screening can be a hard, but don’t let this stop you. It’s important. If public transportation is not practical, mobile apps like Uber and Lyft may provide door-to-door service to and from your appointment for less than the cost of a taxi. Or, ask a friend or family member for help! See if someone you know can give you a ride.

Medicaid patients also have the option of using NEMT (Non-Emergency Medical Transportation). The NEMT program ensures transportation to eligible fee-for-service and managed care health plan participants who do not have access to free appropriate transportation to and from scheduled covered services. The NEMT program may use public transportation or bus tokens, vans, taxi, ambulance, or even an airplane if necessary to get you to your health care appointment. You may also be able to get help with gas costs if you have a car, or have a friend or a neighbor who can take you. The NEMT program must approve this before your appointment. Benefits and program types vary by market.

The good news is that kidney disease screenings usually don’t hurt. If you are concerned about any pain during your screening, ask your provider before your visit what you can expect during the screening.

Many people are afraid to learn that they have kidney disease because they think that all kidney disease leads to dialysis. However, most people with kidney disease will not need dialysis. If you have kidney disease, you can continue to live a productive life, work, spend time with friends and family, and do other things you enjoy.

National Urban League affiliates around the country offer in-person wellness seminars to help you understand your health risk and what you can do to stay healthy and prevent serious issues. Check your local NUL affiliate for a schedule.

You can find many free smoking cessation resources on the web like SmokeFree.gov or WebMD's Smoking Cessation Health Center.