If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, a doctor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has some advice for you.

Get tested for kidney disease.

Deidra C. Crews, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins, said high blood pressure and diabetes are the two most common causes of kidney disease.

And kidney disease is prevalent in the black community. Crews knows. She is a kidney specialist.

And she is coming to Charleston to talk about it.

On July 30, Crews will lecture on “Unequal: The African-American Story of Kidney Disease.”

It’s free, open to the public, and you can learn how to become healthier if you go.

The lecture starts at 6 p.m. at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, 125 Bull St.

Call 953.7609 or e-mail Savannah Frierson friersons@cofc.edu for more info.

Ernest Just Prize

Crews, who promises an interactive program with lots of audience participation, said many blacks are affected by the disease or know someone who is.

African-Americans are 12 percent of the population but more than 30 percent of the patients on dialysis.

Crews is a 2013 recipient of the Ernest Everett Just Prize, named for the Ph.D. pioneering African-American biologist from Charleston noted for his contributions to marine biology.

The prize is jointly sponsored by the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina.

Just, who was born in 1883, graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth College, then began teaching at Howard University. In 1912 he was named head of the Department of Zoology, and retained that position until he died in 1941.

According to Just’s extensive history, his mother, Mary Matthews Just, founded Maryville, the African-American community in West Ashley.

Early detection

Crews has done extensive research on kidney disease. She said early testing, which involves a simple blood and urine test, can help prevent the disease from getting worse.

According to the American Kidney Fund, many with kidney disease never have any symptoms until it is too late.

Crews will talk about ways to prevent kidney disease, such as healthy eating habits, exercise, not smoking and regular checkups.

She also will tell you about some common over-the-counter medicines that can be harmful to the kidneys.

You will have to attend to hear more.

“Dr. Crews is a leader in kidney-disease research, and I hope her presentation will give community members a better understanding of the impact of kidney disease in the African-American community,” said Avery’s Dr. Patricia Williams Lessane.

Dr. Titus A. Reaves of MUSC said the lecture is for anyone who wants to learn more about kidney health.

Taking charge of your health is always a good thing.

Reach Assistant Features Editor Shirley A. Greene at 937-5555, or sgreene@postandcourier.com.