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Raising Awareness for Kidney Health on World Kidney Day

Currently, various forms of kidney disorders affect about 850 million people globally. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a generally progressive, irreversible illness that affects up to 10% of adults globally. It is currently the eighth most common cause of death. The prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is expected to rise sharply worldwide and rank fifth in terms of cause of deaths by 2040. Even worse, CKD is a primary contributor to uncontrollably high medical costs. In high-income nations, the annual healthcare budget is majorly affected by the costs of dialysis and transplantation. 

However, CKD can be prevented from commencing and progressing. The primary prevention of kidney disease should concentrate on modifying risk factors, treating kidney and urinary tract structural abnormalities, and minimizing exposure to kidney toxins and environmental risk factors. The primary objective of education and clinical interventions in individuals with pre-existing kidney disease should be secondary prevention, which includes blood pressure optimization and blood sugar control. It is strongly advised that patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) manage their comorbidities, such as heart diseases and uremia (high urea levels in blood), as a preventive measure to avoid or delay dialysis or kidney transplant. Let’s learn more about kidney health and World Kidney Day in this article. 

Role of Kidneys in the Body

Your kidneys, like your heart or lungs, are vital to your overall health. Eliminating waste from your body and circulating the pure blood back to the body is their primary role in the body. We have two kidneys, one under each lower rib cage on either side of the spine. They have a bean shape and are colored reddish brown. A clenched fist roughly represents the size of each kidney. 

Through the kidney vessels, approximately one liter of blood (one-fifth of the total blood pumped by the heart) enters the kidneys every minute. The renal veins allow the purified blood to return to the body after it has been cleansed.

The work capacity of a healthy kidney can be significantly increased. Each kidney that is in good health can carry out 50% of the kidney's normal function. When one kidney is lost, the remaining kidney can grow larger and compensate for up to 75% of the kidney's normal function, which is equivalent to the work of 1.5 healthy kidneys.

Why is Kidney Health Important? 

The kidney serves as the body's filter system and is an incredibly complex organ that maintains the chemical equilibrium of the entire body. The kidneys maintain the levels of certain substances (harmful or beneficial) that are in the body and keep them within extremely precise limits so that the body runs like a well-oiled machine. This function is called the Renal function.

Even with artificial kidney assistance, proper renal function is essential for survival. Without the numerous tasks that these organs carry out, life could not continue. The kidneys have a major role in controlling blood pressure and blood composition. The kidneys not only produce hormones that convey bone marrow when to synthesize new blood cells, but they also maintain many other hormones that are essential to our very existence.

What is the World Kidney Day Theme for 2024?

The focus of CKD treatment efforts over the past three decades has been on preparing for and administering kidney transplant. Recent medical advancements have even paved the paths for previously unattainable possibilities to stop or delay the progression of disease and minimize its consequences, such as kidney failure and heart diseases, ultimately extending the duration and quality of life for CKD patients.

World Kidney Day Theme for 2024 is “Kidney Health for All”. In order to provide the best kidney care possible, it is necessary to remove obstacles on several fronts and take regional variations into account. The absence of universal healthcare or insurance coverage, gaps in early diagnosis, low awareness among healthcare professionals, and issues with medication cost and accessibility are a few of these obstacles. To preserve kidneys, hearts, and lives, a multifaceted approach is necessary:

  1. Implementation of health policies
  2. Enhancing healthcare delivery
  3. Increasing number of healthcare professionals
  4. Empowering patients and communities by raising awareness

Signs of Impaired Kidney Health

If kidney damage advances slowly, signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease appear gradually. Electrolyte imbalances, body waste accumulation, and fluid accumulation can all result from kidney failure. Loss of kidney function can lead to following symptoms, depending on its severity:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Troubled sleep patterns
  • Impaired urination frequency
  • Impaired mental alertness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Swelling in feet and ankles
  • Dry & itchy skin
  • High blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

What is a Kidney Function Test?

Tests for kidney function gauge how well your kidneys are functioning. The majority of these examinations measure how effectively your kidneys remove waste from your body. A 24-hour urine sample, a blood test, or both may be required for a kidney test. 

Certain illnesses, like diabetes or hypertension, have an impact on the kidneys' ability to function. Kidney function tests may be advised by your doctor to monitor such conditions.
If you experience any symptoms that point to potential kidney issues, you might also require a kidney function test. These signs are:

  • Blood in urine 
  • Pain while urinating
  • Increased urge to urinate
  • Difficulty in starting to pee

Tips to Optimize Kidney Health 

Following are the tips one can follow to keep his/her kidneys in healthy condition:

  • Take healthy meals
  • Include exercise in your daily routine
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Make sure you get enough rest everyday
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit your alcohol consumption
  • Incorporate stress management in your lifestyle
  • Control your blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease well

Conclusion

Your general health depends on how well your kidneys are working. Kidney disease's early detection can save lives. It is possible to prevent or postpone kidney failure with medication, lifestyle modifications, and an early referral to a kidney specialist. Join us to celebrate World Kidney Day on March 14.

Talk to our experts about getting a kidney function test (KFT) if you have a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the awareness program for World Kidney Day Meant For?

A: A global campaign called World Kidney Day aims to increase awareness of the significance of our kidneys. Every year, this day is observed to make people and communities aware of kidney health.

Q2: Why is it important to be aware of kidney health?

A: Your kidneys eliminate excess fluid and waste from your body while also producing urine. Your kidneys will have to work harder to keep up if they are having issues. It's crucial that you take timely actions to maintain the health of your kidneys.

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