World Kidney Day (WKD) is a global health awareness campaign focusing on the importance of our kidneys and reducing the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide. The campaign is celebrated every year on the second Thursday of March in more than 100 countries on 6 continents.
The purpose of WKD is to raise awareness about the importance of our kidneys – an amazing organ that plays a crucial role in keeping us alive and well – and to spread the message that kidney disease is common, harmful and treatable.
The main job of our kidneys (which are roughly the size of two fists and are located deep in our abdomen, beneath our rib cage) is to remove toxins and excess water from our blood. Every day our kidneys filter and clean 200 liters of blood – a quantity that would fill about 200 bottles or 20 buckets! Besides this kidneys also help to control our blood pressure, to produce red blood cells and to keep our bones healthy.
Studies of different races living on different continents worldwide have consistently shown that about 1 out of 10 adults has some form of kidney damage.
People with chronic kidney disease are 10 times more likely than healthy individuals to die of heart attacks and strokes (cheerful hey?). The health of their kidneys may also progressively worsen to the point where the kidneys must be replaced (this is the stage I am at and is called "end-stage renal Failure- ESRF"). Either patients receive a new, transplanted kidney like me or they are kept alive with “dialysis” like I used to be.
Detection of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is easy simple, routine tests of our urine, blood and blood pressure can show early signs of kidney problems. Goods news is that if problems are found these can be slowed down and even stop chronic kidney disease, by taking medicines and changing some of our living habits.
The focus of the WKD 2009 campaign is to:
• Raise awareness about our amazing kidneys and stress the importance of early and comprehensive screening for people at risk of kidney disease.
• Highlight that high blood pressure is a key risk factor for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Better blood pressure control slows the progression of CKD, and makes it less likely that a patient will require dialysis or suffer from heart or other cardiovascular diseases.
• Educate all medical professionals about their key role in detecting and reducing the risk of CKD, particularly in high risk populations.
• Stress the important role of the health authorities in controlling the CKD epidemic. Health authorities worldwide will have to deal with high and escalating costs if no action is taken to treat the growing number of people with CKD. On WKD, governments are encouraged to take action and invest in further kidney screening.
You can now take this quiz to test your knowledge about kidneys and find out if you may be at risk of kidney disease.