The National Kidney Foundation of Illinois this summer hosted free prevention and awareness events throughout the state, including an Aug. 9, event at Columbus Park, 500 S. Central Ave.

The foundation has also released steps individuals and families can take to fight the disease. According to the National Kidney Disease Education Program, African Americans are nearly four times more likely than whites to develop kidney failure. In addition, while African Americans make up about 12 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 32 percent of people with kidney failure, according to the most recent statistics by the NKDEP.

10 Steps to reduce your risk for kidney disease

1. Know your family’s health history and tell your physician. Does anyone in your family have kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or protein or blood in the urine?

2. Visit your doctor for regular checkups and request a blood test to calculate your eGFR, estimated glomerular filtration rate, which measures how well your kidneys are filtering waste and also a urinalysis to test for small amounts of protein in your urine, the earliest sign of kidney disease.

3. The leading causes for new cases of kidney disease are unmanaged or untreated diabetes and high blood pressure. Follow your doctor’s instructions for medications that will keep high blood pressure and diabetes in control.

4. Keep your weight in check. Being overweight can increase your chances of developing diabetes, heart disease, and other problems. Make healthy choices for a balanced diet.

5. Exercise. Walk for 30 minutes at least three times a week. Exercise helps control weight and can alleviate high blood pressure. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

6. Limit salt intake to control high blood pressure.

7. If you smoke, quit. Smoking can contribute to a host of health problems, including lung cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure, as well as contribute to kidney deterioration.

8. Avoid taking large amounts of painkillers, especially non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, which can harm the kidneys (only if the kidneys are already under stress). For example, dehydration from overexertion can stress the kidneys. If you stay hydrated, these drugs generally are safe for the kidneys.

9. Limit your intake of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can both cause and worsen hypertension.

10. Get early detection screenings and educational information to help you prevent a preventable disease.