Kidney Health Q&A With Dr. Griffin Rodgers

( — Kidney disease affects many in the Black community – and unfortunately, kidney failure puts entire families at risk. It’s important for everyone to educate themselves in order to lead healthier lives.

Dr. Griffin Rodgers, Director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), has taken the time to provide answers to your questions…

Rich Lazare: What’s a good diet plan for someone with Type 2 Diabetes and bad kidneys?

Dr. Rodgers: There is no one diet plan that will work for everyone with diabetes and kidney disease.  It is best to work with your healthcare provider and a registered dietitian to find what works for you.  Generally, you need to remember to choose foods that are lower in sodium and lower in protein; and are good for your heart.  Depending on blood tests, you may need to limit foods high in phosphorus and potassium. The National Kidney Disease Education Program has several food tip sheets to help someone with kidney disease. Download the full tip sheets at the NKDEP website and take them to your health care provider. To find a registered dietitian in your area, visit

Sabir  Muhammad: I am taking my mother to see her doctor about her kidney disease. Please tell me what questions should I be asking?

Dr. Rodgers: First, thank you for helping your mother take charge of her health. Many people have fears about kidney disease and may delay visiting a healthcare provider. It is important to be sure that her doctor has as much information as possible, especially a list of medicines which your mother is currently taking.  The doctor should explain why your mother has kidney disease and let you know the likely cause, how severe it is and how he expects her to progress in the future. You may want to ask: How well are my mother’s kidneys filtering?  How much protein is in her urine? What is her blood pressure? What is her blood sugar? What can she do to delay kidney failure? But you also should know you likely are at risk for kidney disease as well. Help your mother, but also be sure to not forget to get checked yourself.