Having been such a huge fan of NFL legend Jerry Rice for being a true original (along with earning an impressive three Super Bowl rings), and the fact that he’s promoting kidney health (not the sexiest of causes to take on) for the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) only makes me respect him more. Most celebrities and athletes go for the more high profile causes like cancer or heart issues, but Rice realizes that kidney disease isn’t the “old person’s” problem like many think.

In fact, chronic kidney disease is hurting young adults, and what’s worse, they have no idea. The Mayo Clinic has pulled over 30 years of data to discover that causes of kidney disease have been rising in the 18-39 year old demographic. Even worse is that there has been a 26 percent surge in claims related to kidney diseases, especially among 18 to 35 year olds.

There’s another scarier fact you millennials might not want to hear, but in the United States alone, 30 million adults of all ages are estimated to have chronic kidney disease with many not even realizing it. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders are at an increased risk of developing this.

For all of our African American readers, you are 3 times more likely than Whites to develop kidney failure. Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely. Major risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and if family members have had it. You’re at a much higher risk of kidney disease if you currently fit into any of those categories.

I know most millennials don’t feel like they have to go to the doctor for a yearly check-up, and with health insurance prices being all over the place, it feels like it’s better to not know what’s going on with your health. As an African American woman, I know how hard it is to get your parents or family members to take better care of themselves. Since we’re at a much higher risk, it’s worth pushing your family and friends to get checked out at the local clinic or just a quick trip to the National Kidney Foundation’s website to learn more.

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You spend plenty of time checking out those cute kitten and puppy videos, so take a minute to check out Jerry Rice’s latest public service announcement (PSA) just below or NKF’s site.

Get Jerry Rice’s Heart Your Kidney’s Toolkit Here

NFL Hall of Famer Rice is featured in two 30-second NKF tv PSA’s called Kidney Stats and Invincible (above) to promote kidney health and kidney disease prevention for the entire month of March and throughout 2019. Like Jerry says, if you know all the stats on your favorite NFL players, how come you don’t know anything about your kidney health. That organ is busy all day long scoring touchdowns for your body.

I was just like many of you until a few years ago when I kept getting kidney stones. For those of you that have had those, you know how painful they are. I couldn’t sit down, and after several trips to my doctor, she finally gave me the lowdown on how important my kidneys were. Heck, I figured that since I had two of them, they weren’t so important, and you always hear more about being heart healthy than kidney healthy. I was soon woken up to just how important they are, as they work round the clock removing waste from our bodies and keeping our blood pressure in check. I thought eating the right foods kept that in check, but that little organ is just as vital to keeping us alive as our heart.

Jerry Rice Heart Your Kidneys twitter meme.

This is why I’m happy to promote Jerry Rice’s campaign with the National Kidney Foundation. Most of you are probably thinking as I did. I just assumed it was an old person’s disease, but with obesity and diabetes so prevalent in our country, chronic kidney disease is quickly becoming a silent but deadly killer among young adults. It takes celebrities like this to bring these subjects into the mainstream conversation.

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While heart disease, cancer, and diabetes get all the attention, this is one subject that deserves your attention. The great news is that all is not lost if you do fall into one of the risk factors.

If you do, just head to your doctor or clinic and ask them to take the blood and urine test to check your kidney health. Sadly, doctors don’t ask you about your kidneys often enough, so it’s up to us to ask them, especially if you have high blood pressure or diabetes.

If chronic kidney disease runs in your family, you can still fight back with simple lifestyle changes. Here are four simple steps right here:

  • Drink more water. Replace one of those sodas with a bottle of water
  • Drop some of the salt and sugar out of your diet, and eat more fiber
  • Go walking or exercise for just 20 minutes a day
  • If you’re a smoker, I know this one you’ll hate. Stop smoking

Like Jerry Rice, most of us have a close friend or family member who is going through diabetes, obesity, or high blood pressure, so sharing this article with them can literally save their lives. Or better yet, donating to the National Kidney Foundation can help them in spreading the word to keep saving lives. If you can’t donate, use the hashtag #HeartYourKidneys during the month of March to give your support.

To learn more check out this link. You might realize that it could literally save your life.

While this article is sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation, these are all my own opinions. After learning what this great organization does, I’m more than proud to get the word out about them.

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