Mark Your Calendar for World Kidney Day
Formed by collaboration with the International Society of Nephrology and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations, World Kidney Day is a joint initiative each March 12 to raise awareness about kidney disease and kidney health.
Kidneys are a valuable set of organs that play a big role in the body. Each about the size of a fist and located just below the rib cage on either side of the spine, their main function is to help remove waste products from the blood through urine. Kidneys are critical to maintaining the balance of chemicals within the human body. They are also responsible for balancing the body’s fluids, releasing hormones, producing an active form of vitamin D, controlling the production of red blood cells.
Chronic kidney disease is diagnosed by detection of a protein in the urine and can be caused by a number of other conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or can be congenital. Other things that can affect your kidney health include excess or prolonged use of drugs and toxins.
Some kidney diseases are often controlled by treating the underlying condition like high blood pressure and diabetes. Other treatments include medications and a specialized diet that reduces the waste products in the blood that the kidneys would have to work to remove.
Worldwide, one in 10 people have chronic kidney disease, although many may not realize it. Kidney disease can affect people of any age, but prevalence increases as you age. About half of all people over 75 live with some declining kidney function, whether from aging or chronic kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease can also lead to complications in the cardiovascular system, and those with early stages of the disease are more likely to die from heart disease than from end stage kidney disease, or kidney failure.
People living with chronic kidney disease may find themselves in an emergency situation where they cannot communicate or have lost consciousness. Wearing a medical ID engraved with “kidney patient” and “on hemodialysis” if applicable can help provide safer, more accurate emergency treatment.
The World Kidney Day promotes a global conversation about the risks, dangers and burden of kidney disease and how to prevent and treat it time. To participate in World Kidney Day, everyone is encouraged to share a selfie of drinking a glass of water as a symbolic gesture to remember that kidneys are vital organs and that they should be taken care of, and to remind people to make healthful lifestyle choices.
You can participate by Tweeting @worldkidneyday with the message: “I drink a #glassofwater because I support #worldkidneyday” or by uploading your photo to the World Kidney Day Facebook page.
This is a symbolic action because water can help protect your kidneys, but it won’t cure chronic kidney disease.
Sources: Kidney.org, Mayo Clinic, National Kidney Disease Education Program, World Kidney Day.org