KEEP Healthy

Five
Jeff spends time with three of his nine grandchildren.

Former Prison Chaplain Takes Charge of Health after Attending NKF's KEEP Screening

Jeff Carter, a 64-year-old retired minister from Buffalo, New York, has dedicated the majority of his life to caring for others’ wellbeing. For 25 years, Jeff served as a prison chaplain at the Attica Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in New York, where he provided support to inmates seeking spiritual and emotional guidance. With an open mind and large heart, Jeff helped to improve the mental and physical health of countless individuals charged with serious crimes. Now Jeff is also taking charge of his own health while continuing to encourage others to do the same.

High blood pressure, a leading cause of chronic kidney disease, runs in Jeff’s family so for the past three years he has attended the National Kidney Foundation’s free Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP) screening to have his kidney function tested. Jeff was aware that he had borderline hypertension, but didn’t fully realize the connection between high blood pressure and its often silent, but damaging impact on the kidneys. After learning more through KEEP and speaking with the on-site physician, he has a greater understanding about the ways high blood pressure can damage the kidneys over time.

Jeff has since followed up with a kidney specialist in order to keep his blood pressure under control and prevent further kidney damage. After seeing a nephrologist, Jeff was diagnosed with Stage 3 kidney disease. He now gets checked twice a year and is working with his nephrologist to make dietary changes to stay healthy. Some changes include reducing his sweets intake, putting down the salt shaker and avoiding fast foods. His physician has also prescribed medications to help manage his blood pressure in conjunction with these lifestyle changes.

Jeff feels good and maintains an active life, constantly chasing after his 9 grandchildren, ranging in age from 15 months to 13 years. In order to watch them grow up, he is determined to preserve his kidney function. Jeff feels that KEEP is a “meaningful” early detection program that has “saved lives” and has enabled him to learn more about the risk factors for kidney disease: hypertension, diabetes and a family history of kidney failure. Jeff knows from personal experience the critical role kidneys play in the body and he wants to help spread the message that kidney disease and its risk factors run in families.

Protect your kidneys by taking proactive measures. Are you or your loved ones at risk? March is National Kidney Month and March 8th is World Kidney Day. The National Kidney Foundation invites you to get your kidneys checked by attending a free KEEP screening in your area. Read more about the KEEP screening program and check out the online schedule of upcoming KEEP events.

Has a KEEP screening impacted your life? If so, the NKF wants to hear from you! Share your KEEP story by emailing lindsey.kellman@kidney.org and we may feature you in an upcoming newsletter.

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