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World Kidney Day – Caring for the Kidney

March 8th is commemorated as the World Kidney Day every year.

In today’s world, communicable diseases have paved the way// for non-communicable ailments, like chronic kidney disease, hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases as leading cause of death and despair. There is an increased effort by several groups of doctors to focus attention on matters related to kidney diseases and their consequences.

Individuals suffering from Hypertension and Diabetes are more prone to Kidney diseases. These two lifestyle related conditions are the leading cause of kidney failure and accounts for almost 50% of the patient suffering from chronic kidney failure that require either dialysis or transplant surgery.

The other noted causes of Kidney diseases are inflammatory diseases of the kidney, infections or obstructions to the urinary tract, or familial disorders like polycystic kidney disease.

Statistics reveal that one out of every ten individual suffers from some form of kidney disease. Here, kidney function maybe impaired and can present as an elevated level of creatinine in the blood and excretion of protein in the urine. Kidney damage manifests itself in the form of high BP, anemia, heart disease and swelling of the body and in advanced cases as difficulty in breathing.

Simple laboratory techniques, consisting of simple urine and blood tests help in the detection of this complex disease. If left undetected kidney disease may lead to progressive kidney loss, requiring dialysis or a transplantation, or it may lead to a premature death due to the associated heart ailments. It is of importance to note that a healthy individual identified with chronic kidney disease has a tenfold propensity to suffer death due to heart–related disorders, irrespective of suffering from kidney failure or not. Twelve million people suffer from morbidity from cardiovascular diseases that stems from chronic kidney disease. The ever-growing diabetes graph only helps to aggravate the existing kidney scenario.

Dialysis and Kidney transplantations are high–maintenance procedures that cut into the health care budgets of developed countries, while it is extremely burdening for the developing world. In developing world countries, many of the patients who require dialysis or a transplant fail to receive it, while in others there is no access to Kidney care. All this means that the patients are forced to die for the lack of a better option.

Therefore the need of the hour is a combination of early detection and prevention. Lifestyle modifications, controlling hypertension and diabetes, along with regular screening for the disease can help to curtail the incidence of the ever-expanding kidney disorders. Some of the recommended preventive measures are:

? Control hypertension, blood glucose, lipids

? Control body weight

? Avoid smoking

? Do regular physical exercises

Carry out regular screening for the following groups of people -

- Individuals who are obese and above the age of 50

- Individuals who have hypertension and diabetes

- Individuals who are smokers

- Individuals with any form of kidney disease

- Individuals who have a family history of kidney disease

- Individuals who have a family history diabetes, hypertension

As we celebrate world kidney day it is also vital to consider the plight of those who require kidney transplantation or dialysis. There is a shortage of kidneys for transplantation and there is a need to spread awareness among the public regarding kidney donation, especially from deceased donor or cadavers. The elected governments must play a larger role in regularizing the activities surrounding kidney donation. A combination of all these factors would definitely take us several steps forward towards a disease-free status, at a global level.

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