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I must admit that after learning about the role that our kidneys play in keeping the human body healthy while taking a biology class in high school several decades ago, I never thought anymore about the subject. I just assumed that since I felt fine, everything, including my two little kidneys, were fine too.

Even more, since I don’t suffer from any of the preexisting conditions typically associated with kidney disease like diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity, I always believed I was in the clear.

But I have since realized that failing to request a urine and/or blood test during my annual physical, tests that can detect problems with my kidneys and catch them in their early stages, could place both my kidneys and my life in jeopardy.

Said another way, it’s all about being more aware and becoming better educated.

While one popular adage opines the notion “ignorance is bliss,” the truth remains that not knowing, particularly in cases like this, can prove to be fatal.

Even if the end does not result in death, failing to be tested regularly and making sure our kidneys are functioning at their best can lead to a significant decline in our quality of life.

In this health supplement, The Washington Informer has chosen to focus on the theme “Kidney Health and Wellness,” primarily because we want those who live and/or work in the communities we serve, the greater Washington area, as well as our online readers who reside throughout the U.S. and abroad, to have life-enhancing kidney disease knowledge firmly within their grasp.

We have included stories and reflections from medical experts who work each day on the “kidney front line,” kidney transplant donors and recipients, the developers of a unique health support group for African-American women and one family whose faith and patience on which they stand as they await a kidney for the “man of the house,” eclipse their desperation and fear that death may come before his wait-listed name is called and a successful kidney transplant achieved.

Do you know the kinds of foods to eat and avoid or the risk factors of which you should be aware so you can reduce the chances of becoming a person facing chronic kidney disease?

Are you an organ donor or have you ever considered what you would do if you needed an organ transplant?

Do you tend to consume vast quantities of fast foods, gobble down far too many meals where the prepared foods are fried or indulge in excessive amounts of alcohol?

Do you know the last time, if at all, that you had your kidneys tested by a physician?

These are questions whose answers matter as the decisions you have made or continue to make may either contribute to a healthy, properly-running body, or put you closer to facing any number of life-threatening illnesses.

We hope you take heed of the facts we have included and, above all, make a renewed commitment to know and listen to your body – always seeking new and improved ways to keep your body healthy.

After all, while we can always purchase a new home, a new car or a new wardrobe, outlets with new bodies for sale remain in extremely “short supply.”

Godspeed and here’s to better health.

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Dominic Kevin McNeir is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of service for the Black Press (NNPA). Prior to moving East to assist his aging parents in their struggles with Alzheimer’s,...

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