World Kidney Day | Dialysis is a way of life for many patients suffering with kidney ailments in the India. Worldwide, 850 million people are now estimated to have kidney diseases from various causes and chronic kidney disease (CKD) causes at least 2.4 million deaths worldwide per year and is now the 6th fastest growing cause of death. And these are the numbers when the cases in India, which is home to world's 17 percent population, remain largely undocumented and unregistered.
The alarming figures cited above are just a glimpse of the sobering reality that renal failure and other kidney-related diseases are more common than we would like to believe. And more often than not, the preventive actions required to guard against kidney diseases are minor lifestyle changes that also contribute to an overall healthy lifespan. Therefore, to create an awareness around the issue, the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF) jointly decided to mark the second Thursday as the World Kidney Day since 2006.
What is World Kidney Day?
World Kidney Day is a global awareness campaign aimed at raising awareness of the threat chronic kidney diseases pose to human life, and how one can introduce healthy changes in life to reduce risk factors. The organisers cite their main objective as creating awareness about preventive behaviors, risk factors, and about how to live with a kidney disease. The theme for 2019 World Kidney Day is "Kidney health for everyone everywhere," aiming to highlight the growing burden of kidney disease and kidney health disparity and inequity worldwide.
The day was first observed in 2006 with 66 countries marking the event with various awareness raising programmes. Within two years, this number rose to 88.
What are the major risk factors and how can it be reduced?
ISN and IFKF highlight that diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure are key risk factors for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).
Kidney failure is commonly called a silent condition. When a patient begins experiencing symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue and fluid retention, it means that their kidney function has already fallen to 25 percent or less. And the best way to avoid the failure of these vital organs is to live a healthy lifestyle and consume a healthy diet with limited salt.
Eat Responsibly: Doctors say that eating responsibly by controlling the intake of fatty foods in your diet could be one of the first steps towards a healthier kidney and heart. Fizzy drinks and excessive consumption of salt are other common lifestyle factors attributed to kidney ailments. ISN and IFKF suggest that the daily salt intake should be reduce to 5-6 grams of salt per day (around a teaspoon).
Be careful with consumption of over-the-counter medication: Common drugs such non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen are known to cause kidney damage and disease if taken regularly. So the next time you are popping a pill to relieve a recurring pain, give it another thought and work with your doctor to find a way to control your pain without putting your kidneys at risk.
Drink enough water: This is probably the most commonly recurring advice in healthcare-related articles. But, honestly, one can't stress on it enough. And since our kidneys deal with flushing out toxins from our body by diluting them with water, a better water intake routine will be a big help to these crucial organs. Consuming plenty of fluid helps the kidneys clear sodium, urea and toxins from the body which, in turn, results in a “significantly lower risk” of developing chronic kidney disease, according to researchers in Australia and Canada. Although clinical studies have not reached an agreement on the ideal quantity of water and other fluids we should consume daily to maintain good health, traditional wisdom has long suggested drinking 1.5 to 2 litres (3 to 4 pints) of water per day.
Quit smoking: Smoking slows the flow of blood to the kidneys. When less blood reaches the kidneys, it impairs their ability to function properly. Smoking also increases the risk of kidney cancer by about 50 percent.
Prevention is better than cure: The importance of regular and systematic screening cannot be stressed enough. ISN and IFKF guidelines suggest regular screening if:
- you have diabetes
- you have hypertension
- you are obese
- one of your parents or other family members suffers from kidney disease
- you are of African, Asian, or Aboriginal origin
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Updated Date: Mar 14, 2019 09:31:15 IST