World Kidney Day (WKD), which is celebrated annually on the second Thursday in March, is a global health awareness campaign that focuses on the prevention 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'.
Organizers of this event have suggested a way to celebrate the day. Click a photo of yourself drinking a glass of water and give one glass to another person and put it up on social media. This symbolic gesture will help increase awareness about the condition and the importance of taking care of our kidneys.
AdvertisementChronic kidney disease is 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.