History of World Kidney Day
In 2006, the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF) collaborated to establish World Kidney Day to serve as a global kidney health awareness campaign. The goal was to raise awareness about the function of our kidneys and the significance of kidney health and help minimise the impact of kidney disease and related disabling or fatal complications. The day also is used to highlight prevalence of kidney diseases and the need for of maintaining optimal kidney health. World Kidney Day is observed annually on the second Thursday in March.
Kidney Health for All: Bridge the Knowledge Gap to Better Kidney Care.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a prevalent and debilitating condition that affects one out of every ten adults globally and could be fatal if untreated. Kidney disease-related mortality continues to rise year after year, and is estimated to become the fifth leading cause of death by 2040. Despite the fact that early detection helps minimize morbidity and mortality while also improving cost effectiveness and sustainability, there is a persistent CKD knowledge gap that can be seen at all levels of healthcare. This knowledge gap is stifling the fight against kidney disease, and increasing the inherent associated complications and deaths.
The complexity of the information on kidney disease, inadequate baseline awareness, low health literacy, limited availability of CKD information, and a lack of willingness to learn are all barriers to improved understanding about kidney health.
Increased awareness of the key role kidneys play, as well as easy methods for diagnosing and preventing future health problems, can aid in the reduction of excessively high morbidity and mortality rates.
This year, the theme for World Kidney day is “Kidney Health for All: Bridge the Knowledge Gap to Better Kidney Care.” The campaign focusing on enhancing Kidney education, serving as a bridge to public consciousness on kidney health.
Health care professionals, scientists, patients, administrators, health-policy experts, government officials, kidney health organisations and foundations must all work together to advance knowledge of kidney care. All need to be aware of the ways in which more attention to the kidney in the setting of government policies can lead to major benefits both to patients and to health-care budgets.
Let us work collectively to:
- encourage general public to adopt healthy diet and lifestyles (access to clean water, exercise, healthy diet, tobacco control, and climate change prevention) to maintain good kidney health, preserve kidney function longer in those with CKD, and increase overall general awareness of the importance of kidneys;
- Extend kidney patient education (including practical advice on diet and lifestyle) to empower patients, their care-partners, and their support systems to achieve the health outcomes and life goals that are meaningful and important to those with CKD including kidney failure;
- Ensure that patients’ and caregivers are able to assess, understand and use health information related to CKD;
- Require kidney healthcare providers and patient organisations to offer information related to CKD according to varying levels of health literacy;
- Encourage and support primary care physicians to improve their recognition and management of patients with CKD across its entire spectrum from prevention and early detection of CKD to its secondary and tertiary prevention and kidney failure care;
- Integrate CKD and kidney failure prevention into national non-communicable disease programs for comprehensive and integrated services, which are essential in improving the early detection and tracking of kidney care at country level;
- Inform politicians about the impact of kidney disease and kidney failure on their constituents’ health and its associated burden on healthcare budgets/systems to encourage the adoption of policies and allocation of resources which tackle the global burden of kidney disease and ensure living well with kidney disease.
To keep your kidneys healthy,
- Keep regular control of your blood sugar. About 50% of people with Diabetes will develop kidney damage. Make sure you are doing all you can to stay in control!
- Check and control your blood pressure. About half of people who have high blood pressure do not know they have high blood pressure. Check your blood pressure as part of your general body check up. High blood pressure can damage your kidneys.
- Keep fit and active. Staying active helps in many areas to keep your kidneys healthy as well as promotes a positive mood and weight loss.
- Eat healthily and keep your weight in check. Making good food choices will go hand in hand with staying active to reduce weight and encourage good health.
- Water, water, water! Keeping hydrated is good for your skin as well as your kidneys. Staying hydrated flushes the toxins out of the kidneys and reduces the chance of kidney stones.
- No Smoking! Smoking is bad in many ways, but for the kidneys, the chance of developing cancer in them increases by 50% for smokers.
- Do not take over-the-counter pills on a regular basis. Common drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen can cause kidney damage and disease if taken regularly for long periods of time. See a physician if you are having chronic pain for options that will not cause harm.
- Get your kidney function checked if you have one or more of the “high risk” factors: Discuss with your physician your risk factors and whether kidney function testing is right for you. Major risk factors include: hypertension, obesity, diabetes, family history of kidney disease, or if you are of African descent.
- Exercise caution when using herbal medicines.Some herbal medicines have components that are harmful to kidneys. Before taking herbal supplements, check with your physician or pharmacist.
Our kidneys are very important. Let’s take steps to keep them healthy. Let’s adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles in that regard. And, let’s share all verified information to bridge the knowledge gap.