The World Kidney Day (WKD) which is celebrated annually on March 12 aims to raise awareness about our kidneys to keep them healthy and reduce the incidence and impact of kidney diseases.
WKD is a joint initiative from the International Federation of Kidney Foundation (IFKF) and the International Society of Nephrology (ISN).
IFKF and ISN want to make humanity aware of the causes of Chronic Kidney Disease especially for those who suffer insufficient hydration and poor water hygiene, as well as who consume unhealthy drinks like sodas.
People who are mostly affected by the Chronic Kidney Disease are in the age of 70, and the risk of getting the disease increases after reaching the age of 50.
Also, approximately one of three adults with diabetes and one of five with high blood pressure has the chronic kidney disease. Although we are all familiar with the kidneys, however, not all of us really know their importance.
The main function of kidneys are filtration of the blood continuously to eliminate toxins and excessive water from the body in urine form, and they also make sure that blood components are stable such electrolytes (sodium, calcium and phosphate).
In addition, they help in manufacturing hormones which help in regulating blood pressure, red blood cells formation and maintaining strong bones.
Causes of Kidney Disease
Kidney dysfunction will lead to buildup wastes in the body and cause renal failure (renal impairment). Several factors affect renal impairment such as diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), as well as some types of kidney inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
Two main types of renal impairment are classified as acute and chronic kidney disease.
Acute Kidney Disease suddenly appears combined with a dramatic loss of kidney functions. The symptoms of this type appear quickly and require immediate medical intervention by dialysis.
Unlike the acute kidney disease, the Chronic Kidney Disease is a gradual loss of kidney functions and it takes longer time.
According to the WKD 2015 leaflet, the golden rules for the prevention of kidney disease are:
- Keep active and fit: this will control blood pressure and reduce the risk of chronic kidney disease.
- Monitor your blood pressure: this will protect our kidneys; also keeping healthy diet habits such as low salt diet and less saturated fats.
- Keep your weight in check and eat healthy: this will help in reducing the incidence of obesity which is combined by serious chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Avoid smoking: kidneys may get impaired; as smoking slows the blood flow to the kidneys and this will decrease their functions.
- Maintain fluid intake: suggested drinking liters are 1.2 to 2 liters of water per day. However, studies have shown that drinking sodas on a daily basis induces higher risk of developing some level of the chronic type. This is because soft drinks increase the level of protein in the urine and this damages kidneys’ functions.
- Get your kidneys’ function checked: family history of previous incidence of kidney diseases will be mandatory for your kidney function testing, especially if you are diabetic or a high blood pressure patient, also, if you were of South Asian or African-Caribbean ethnic backgrounds.
- National Chronic Kidney Disease Fact Sheet, 2014, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, retrieved from www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/pdf/kidney_factsheet.pdf.
- 2015 Campaign Materials, 2015, World Kidney Day, retrieved from http://www.worldkidneyday.org/resources/2015-campaign-materials/.
- Chronic kidney disease, 2015, MedlinePlus, retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000471.htm.