World Kidney Day 2010 - "Protect Your Kidneys, Control Diabetes"

by Savitha C Muppala on  March 10, 2010 at 5:57 PM Health In Focus
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World Kidney Day which falls on 11th March 2010, is a worldwide health awareness campaign aimed at improving the knowledge of kidneys, and most importantly ways to cut the rate of Kidney disease. A combined initiative of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF), World Kidney Day campaign this year will focus on Diabetes as the most important cause of Chronic Kidney Disease. The Theme for WKD 2010 is: "Protect your Kidneys, Control Diabetes."

The crux of the campaign will seek to spread the message that kidney diseases are common and should not be ignored as they can cause immense harm to human lives. The silver lining is that kidney diseases are treatable.

Key Objectives of WKD

• Improve knowledge about kidneys
• Underline that diabetes and high blood pressure are significant risk factors for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
• Underline the importance of regular screening of all patients with diabetes and hypertension for CKD
• Educate about prevention of CKD

Role of Kidneys

Kidneys are approximately the size of our fists and a pair of kidneys are located in the abdomen below the rib cage. The main role of Kidneys is to throw out toxins and excess water from our blood. Kidneys also regulate our blood pressure, monitor blood stream levels of many minerals and molecules like sodium and potassium, and assist in regulating blood acidity. Another key function of kidneys is the production of red blood cells.

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD is caused due to variety of reasons which include inflammatory diseases of the kidney, obstruction in the urinary tract, infections, and inherited disorders like polycystic kidney disease. Some of the most common causes of CKD are diabetes and hypertension.

Risk factors of CKD

Those at high risk of kidney disease must be screened regularly to ascertain the function of the kidneys. The risk factors for Kidney disease are:

• Age 50 and above
• Smoking
• Obesity
• Diabetes mellitus and hypertension.
• Family history of diabetes mellitus or hypertension
• Family history of kidney disease

Testing for Kidney Disease

Kidney diseases manifest gradually and symptoms show up at a very late stage when the patient's kidneys have failed needing dialysis in some cases. Undetected CKD is a big problem in the developing world.

A simple routine test of blood pressure, blood and urine test can detect initial signs of kidney problems. The evaluation is based on the fact that when kidneys are damaged, proteins can be detected in the urine , which is one of the key indicators of chronic kidney disease.

 Laboratory tests are conducted on small samples of blood (to evaluate creatinine content and estimate GFR) and on urine (to evaluate creatinine and albumin excretion) which can indicate the risk of kidney disease.

If CKD is detected early, treatment can help retard the progression of patients to end-state renal disease, and also cut the associated risks of cardiovascular diseases, which is a leading cause of premature deaths globally.

Diabetes Can Kill Kidneys

Diabetes is the number one enemy of our kidneys and this message is for all the 240 million people suffering from diabetes worldwide.

More than 50% of people with diabetes go undetected and therefore do not receive the treatment they need. The risk of CKD is high for those suffering diabetes as research has shown that 40% of people with diabetes will develop CKD. Monitoring blood sugar levels regularly and screening for CKD can reduce the incidence of kidney damage to a great extent.

Countries to step up measures to control CKD are India, China, the United States, Russia and Japan which are the top five countries with the highest incidence of diabetes worldwide.

Prevent Chronic Kidney Disease - Take the following steps

Kidney diseases creep in silently and can completely throw life out of gear.  It is possible to cut the risk of developing kidney diseases by taking the following steps:.

• Be on the move for Kidney health -exercise and daily physical activity maintains blood pressure, cuts risk of diabetes.

• Regular screening of  blood sugar level , and  blood lipids 

50% of people who have diabetes suffer damage to their kidneys - it is imperative that people with diabetes undergo regular tests to check their kidney functions. Kidney damage from diabetes can be slowed down if diagnosed early.

•  Blood pressure has to be monitored and brought under control, as it is a significant cause of kidney damage. The guidelines are as follows:

120/80 is the normal blood pressure level.

Blood pressure 121/81 to 139/89 is considered as pre-hypertensive and it is necessary to adopt lifestyle and dietary changes

A blood pressure of 140/90 is a wake up call and it is imperative that people consult a specialist. Blood pressure should be monitored regularly at this stage.

•  Weight must be maintained with a balance of healthy food and proper exercise.

Maintaining weight helps in reducing the risks of CKD as it cuts the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Reduction in intake of salt helps to lower blood pressure. 5-6 grams of salt per day (around a small teaspoon, not heaped) is the recommended sodium (salt) intake per day. 

• Give up smoking

Smoking reduces blood flow to the kidneys, thus reducing their ability to function at its best. Smoking also increases the risk of kidney cancer by 50%.

•  Avoid consumption of  over-the-counter pills regularly 

Some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, can trigger kidney damage if it is taken regularly. Regular use of such pills must be monitored, and it's always best to seek the advice of a medical specialist.

Never ignore your kidneys. On World Kidney Day, this is a reminder to evaluate your risks of kidney disease and undergo simple routine tests to ascertain the health of your kidneys, especially those who are at high risk of kidney disease. Take care of your kidneys so they can take care of you!

Source: Medindia

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Nice informative short article on preventive aspect of CKD.


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