World Kidney Day
March 10th is World Kidney Day (WKD), created in 2006 to promote awareness of kidneys, their vital role in our bodies, and their susceptibility to often preventable diseases.
The holiday is co-sponsored by the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF). Nine thousand healthcare professionals in 126 countries are members of ISN, a non-profit society founded in 1960. The IFKF was created in 1999 to improve treatment and promote research; members include 63 kidney foundations and patient associations in 41 countries.
Each year’s observance focuses on a different theme. 2016’s WKD theme was “Kidney Disease & Children. Act Early to Prevent It!” Its goal was to get the word out that children are vulnerable to Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) due to kidney blockage or traumatic injury, and Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) caused by birth defects, hereditary or systemic diseases and nephrotic syndrome, among other factors.
Move Your Feet
WKD 2016’s social media campaign encouraged everyone to get moving, take a photo of their feet and post it with the hashtag #moveyourfeet4wkd. From the World Kidney Day site:
World Kidney Day 2016 ‘Move your feet’ campaign urges everyone around the globe, from all cultures and ages, to keep fit and active. This campaign is a symbol to encourage people to maintain a minimum level of physical activity in any way they can, with their own means and frequency, regardless of their physical condition. Small steps can make a difference to keep healthy kidneys and we value every single effort.
Facts about Kidney Health
Most people know that high blood pressure raises risk for heart attack and stroke; it’s also the most common cause of CKD. Exercise helps lower blood pressure and has many other health benefits.
Half of all diabetics will develop kidney damage at some point. Keeping blood sugar at a healthy level and having kidney function monitored with regular blood tests can reduce or prevent damage.
Staying hydrated helps the kidneys flush sodium, urea and toxins from the body. Some studies claim it can lower the risk of kidney damage. There is little agreement on how much water is optimal, although experts agree that extremely high intake can cause life-threatening side effects.
Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs are known to cause kidney damage if taken regularly. Chronic users should consult their doctors to find a safe way to manage their pain.
Finally, here’s yet another reason to quit smoking: It slows blood flow to the kidneys, impairing their ability to function normally. Smokers also have a 50% increase in the risk of kidney cancer. After cessation of smoking, risk drops; after ten years, it is the same as that of a non-smoker.
Events are going on worldwide right now. Not near one? Start your own. All you have to do is put your best foot forward. Have a happy and healthy World Kidney Day!