World Kidney Day 2011 - “Protect Your Kidneys and Save Your Heart”

by Savitha C Muppala on  March 9, 2011 at 7:21 PM Health In Focus
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World Kidney Day, celebrated annually on March 10th, 2011 is a time when the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundation (IFKF) come together to step up awareness about our kidneys, with a purpose of reducing the global burden of kidney diseases.

Millions of people die prematurely due to cardiovascular disease connected to chronic kidney disease. It is said that victims of chronic kidney disease carry an eight-fold risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases. Aptly, the slogan "Protect Your Kidneys and Save Your Heart", forms the theme of World Kidney Day 2011, focusing on the connection between Chronic Kidney Disease and Cardiovascular Diseases.

Chronic Kidney Disease

Most victims with initial stages of CKD go undiagnosed.

Kidney disease sneaks in rather silently and the symptoms often show up only at an advanced stage, sometimes when the patient has already suffered kidney failure and needs dialysis. Further, the presence of kidney disease can also trigger cardiovascular diseases, leading to premature death.

Chronic kidney disease can arise due to inherited conditions, infections in the kidney, obstruction in the urinary tract, inflammatory diseases of the kidney, hypertension and diabetes.  It is important to know that these conditions are high risk factors for cardiovascular events, like heart attack and stroke.

Heart of The Matter - CKD and Cardiovascular Disease

It is important to know that chronic kidney disease (CKD) ultimately causes irreversible damage to the kidneys.

The kidneys work to eliminate toxins from the body, by controlling the manner of water distribution to the body's tissues. Thus, CKD impairs the ability of the kidneys to efficiently eliminate toxins, which can further upset the body's blood pressure. Hypertension damages the blood vessels in the heart and this can trigger cardiovascular problems, which is why victims of CKD carry an elevated risk of death due to complications from cardiovascular disease, than kidney failure.

Slow Poison - Effect of CKD on Cardiovascular System 
  • Prolonged retention of toxins in the body - risk factor for  stroke and heart attack.

  • Narrowing of blood vessels due to excess calcium or phosphorus in the blood, again a risk for cardiovascular disease.

  • Elevated homocysteine levels cause permanent damage to artery walls, a high risk for lethal clots.

Early Detection is Vital

Regular screening with a simple kidney function test must be the first  priority for those at high risk of kidney disease.

The silver lining is that kidney disease is treatable, but it is important to detect it early.  Early detection can help avert the progression of disease to end-state renal disease, and can greatly cut the incidence of cardiovascular diseases.

High Risk Factors for CKD:

  • Obesity

  • Smoking

  • Diabetes

  • Hypertension

  • Age- those above 50 years need regular screening

  • Family history of kidney disease, diabetes, or hypertension.

Diagnosis of Kidney Disease

Presence of protein consistently in the urine is an early indicator of chronic kidney disease.

A simple urine and blood test can detect any initial signs of kidney problems.  Laboratory tests are conducted on small samples of blood and urine to evaluate creatinine content and albumin excretion. The presence of protein consistently in the urine is an early indicator of chronic kidney disease.

Leading Causes of CKD - Hypertension and Diabetes

40% of Diabetics develop Chronic Kidney Disease

Hypertension is a global health issue, with nearly one billion people worldwide as its victims. Diabetes too has nearly 240 million victims, and this figure is slated to touch 380 million by 2025. The presence of hypertension and diabetes, damage the blood vessels in the kidney, impairing the kidney from performing its function of eliminating fluids from the body, leading to kidney disease. When fluids are retained in the body, the blood pressure further goes up, straining the cardiovascular system.

Seven Golden Rules for Healthy Kidneys - "Be on the move for kidney health"

  • Healthy diet and weight management is sacrosanct for kidney health.

  • Monitor blood sugar levels regularly.

  • Regular exercise - keeps blood pressure in check and wards off lifestyle diseases.

  • Avoid taking over-the-counter pills regularly, as they can damage the kidneys

  • Cut salt intake and stick to recommended 5-6 grams of salt per day. 

  • Kidney function test is important in presence of risk factors like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, or a family history of kidney disease.

  • Give up smoking - smoking reduces blood flow to the kidneys, triggers loss of kidney function and increases risk of kidney cancer.

World Kidney Day 2011, underlines the importance of screening for those at high risk of kidney disease. Early detection and treatment can arrest kidney impairment and cut the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Protect your kidneys and save your heart!

Source: Medindia

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Let's take an oath on this day to spread the awareness about KIDNEY related diseases.let'S not forget that "WE ARE THE WORLD and WE ARE THE PEOPLE"


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