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World Kidney Day 2015
World Kidney Day is an annual global awareness and education event, that focuses on the importance of the kidney health. It began in 2006 and each year it highlights a particular theme, which for 2015 is: KIDNEY HEALTH FOR ALL
Kidneys are essential to our health. They get rid of excess water and toxins, regulate blood pressure, make red blood cells and keep bones strong. The kidneys are normally very efficient and it can be a long time before there are signs that something is wrong. When kidneys are damaged or lose function over time, this is known as chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Depending on the problem, early diagnosis and treatment can help slow down any further damage to the kidneys. Left unchecked, however, it can sometimes lead to kidney failure which requires treatment by dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Kidney cancer risk is 3.6 times higher in people with end stage renal disease receiving dialysis, and risk increases with the number of years on dialysis, a cohort study showed. Kidney cancer risk among people with chronic kidney disease increases with poorer kidney function.
How to improve your kidney health
There are several easy ways to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease. Some small changes in behaviour can have enormous health benefits.
- Monitor your Blood Pressure – High blood pressure accelerates kidney damage. To protect yourself from kidney disease you should also maintain a diet low in salt and saturated fats.
- Keep fit and active – This helps reduce your blood pressure and therefore reduces the risk of kidney disease.
- Don’t smoke – Smoking slows blood flow to the kidneys, decreasing their ability to function properly.
- Eat healthily and keep your weight in check – This can help prevent diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with kidney disease.
- Get your kidney function tested – If anyone in your family has suffered from kidney disease, you are diabetic or have high blood pressure or if you are of South Asian or African-Caribbean ethnic background.
- Keep well hydrated – This helps the kidneys clear sodium, urea and toxins from the body which can significantly lower the risk of developing chronic kidney. (Dialysis patients however may need to restrict their fluid intake.)