World Kidney Day (WKD), which is celebrated annually on the second Thursday in March, is a
global health awareness campaign that focuses on
and treatment of chronic kidney (or renal) disease. It
is characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over a period of months
or years. This year, WKD falls on 12th
March with the theme, 'Kidney
Health for All'.
of this event have suggested a way to celebrate the day.
a photo of yourself drinking a glass of water
and give one
glass to another person and put it up on social media. This
gesture will help increase awareness about the condition and the importance of
taking care of our kidneys.
Chronic kidney disease
a significant problem that affects around 10% of the population. The condition
is more common in older individuals, especially over the age of 75 years;
however, it can affect individuals of any age group. Though kidney transplantation
is the preferred treatment for kidney failure, it may not always be possible to
get a matching donor. Lifestyle
changes that are advised for kidney health include the following:
- Drink plenty of
water: It is recommended that an adult should
drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. Kidneys play an
important role in maintaining water and electrolyte balance as well as the
excretion of urea and other waste material. Dehydration can be one of the
factors that results in chronic kidney disease. Also, many Indians do not have access to clean drinking water, which can lead to
dehydration and kidney damage. Dirty water can cause infections and again
damage the kidneys.
WKD 2015 also directs
our attention to a problem in Central America, where young men working in
sugarcane plantations suffer from a high incidence of chronic kidney disease,
possibly due to exposure to very high temperatures and recurrent dehydration.
- Carbonated drinks: On one hand, we have people who do not have access to clean
drinking water, while on the other, we have those who consume
excessive carbonated drinks. Carbonated drinks are not healthy for the
kidneys and are in no way a replacement for plain drinking water. To make
matters worse, their consumption increases in summer, which can have a
detrimental effect on the kidneys. Children should particularly be warned
of this danger since it could result in kidney damage at an early age.
- Eat healthy, sleep
well: By eating in a healthy manner and
sleeping well, one can delay the onset of conditions like hypertension and
diabetes, which are common causes for kidney disease. If you are already
suffering from these conditions, make sure they are well controlled so
that they do not progress to kidney disease. Early screening in patients
without symptoms helps in early diagnosis of these conditions and thus,
enables early treatment.
- Lifestyle: Other lifestyle changes like being physically active and
keeping the body weight under control can also prevent diabetes and hypertension and thereby,
reduce the chances of kidney disease.
- Smoking and drugs: Avoid smoking. In addition, avoid the regular use of
over-the-counter painkillers since these could damage kidneys.
- Blood and urine
tests: Kidney disease can be diagnosed early
through simple blood and urine tests, even before any symptoms appear.