March is the month which carried the International Women’s Day ( 8 March 2019) as well as World Kidney Day (14 March 2019). World Kidney Day is annually observed on the second Thursday in March. This year, it falls on March 14. The day is marked to raise awareness about the importance of kidneys and how they are related to our overall health. This year, the theme of World Kidney Day is “Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere.” What is the importance of the kidneys? The two bean-shaped organs in the body, just about the size of the fist, are essential for removing waste products from the blood and regulating the water fluid levels. Kidneys filter blood approximately 400 times a day. If the kidneys do not function well, they may lead to chronic kidney disease. Uncontrolled high blood pressure, high blood sugar over the years can be the possible reasons behind malfunctioning kidneys.
Kidney disease: the Burden. According to the WHO, chronic kidney disease is the sixth fastest growing cause of death around the world. 850 million people worldwide are now estimated to have kidney diseases due to various causes. Around 1.7 million people are estimated to die annually due to acute kidney injury globally.
Facts on kidney diseases:
850 MILLION PEOPLE WORLDWIDE are now estimated to have kidney diseases from various causes. Chronic kidney diseases (CKD) cause at least 2.4 million deaths per year and are now the 6th fastest growing cause of death.
Acute kidney injury (AKI), an important driver of CKD, affects over 13 million people worldwide and 85% of these cases are found in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Around 1.7 people are estimated to die annually because of AKI.
Moreover, CKD and AKI are important contributors to increased morbidity and mortality from other diseases and risk factors including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, as well as infections such as HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and hepatitis. Furthermore, CKD and AKI in children, not only lead to substantial morbidity and mortality during childhood but also result in medical issues beyond childhood.
This year 2019, the theme of World Kidney Day is “Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere.”
What is called for?
Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere calls for universal health coverage for prevention and early treatment of kidney disease. This year, World Kidney Day sets out to raise awareness of the high and increasing burden of kidney diseases worldwide and the need for strategies for kidney diseases prevention and management.
Precautions to prevent kidney diseases: What You Can Do?
To prevent oneself from kidney diseases, one must reduce salt intake to lower blood pressure and avoid drinking alcohol and smoking. Being physically fit and active also helps in preventing renal diseases. Over-the-counter drugs must be avoided and healthy body weight must be maintained. Diabetes and obesity is a major risk factor for kidney disease, hence it is important for people with diabetes to have regular tests to check their blood sugar levels and also manage their weight. Blood pressure must also be kept in check and the body should be well-hydrated.
Kidney disease can progress to kidney failure. In case of kidney failure, dialysis may be required and this can be a huge burden especially in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).
It bears reminding that kidney diseases are often silent killers and have no symptoms at early stages. You may be suffering from a form of kidney disease without being aware of it, accelerating the unset of your illness by undertaking an unbalanced diet. Indeed, persons with high risk of kidney disease or those with only one kidney should avoid high protein diet, and patients with more severe kidney disease should maintain a low protein diet.
8 Golden Rules – World Kidney Day
What can you do for your kidneys?
- Keep fit and active
- Keep regular control of your blood sugar level
- Monitor your blood pressure
- Eat healthy and keep your weight in check
- Maintain a healthy fluid intake
- Do not smoke
- Do not take over-the-counter pills on a regular basis
Get your kidney function checked if you have one or more of the ‘high risk’ factors such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, if one of your parents or other family members suffers from kidney disease or if you are of African, Asian, or Aboriginal origin