World Kidney Day: Protect yourself from chronic kidney disease
World Kidney Day is an initiative of the International Society of Nephrology and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations. The campaign aims to encourage public health authorities to raise awareness of chronic kidney disease.
Nearly one billion people worldwide have high blood pressure and more than 500 million have chronic kidney disease (CKD). Unchecked high blood pressure may severely damage the kidneys and is a major cause of chronic kidney disease. World Kidney Day is celebrated to encourage everyone to face up to the harsh realities of kidney disease and motivate people to check if they are at risk. Undetected, the risks of chronic kidney disease can cause progressive loss of kidney function eventually leading to the need for dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant.
WKD Steering Committee Co-chair Dr. William Couser explains, “The incidence of chronic kidney disease is escalating with 10-13% of the population affected in most countries. Added to this, millions are dying prematurely of cardiovascular diseases linked to chronic kidney disease. We want to foster more aggressive intervention by physicians to better manage both high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease, as well as encourage health ministries around the world to invest in preventive measures,”
Less than 30% of people with chronic kidney disease are aware they have the condition. The World Kidney Day campaign aims to educate the public to be more aware of common risk factors for kidney disease like high blood pressure. If risk factors are present, taking early action to have kidney function measured can help ensure this kind of situation is avoided. They also want to ensure that measurement of blood pressure and examination of the urine for protein (an indicator of kidney disease), become part of all routine medical examinations.
The Foundation suggests seven ways to maintain healthy kidneys:
1. Keep fit and active.
2. Keep regular control of your blood sugar level
3. Monitor your blood pressure
4. Eat healthy and keep your weight in check
5. Do not smoke
6. Do not take over-the-counter pills on a regular basis
7. Check your kidney function if you have one or more of the high risk factors.