2nd Thursday of March every year is celebrated as World kidney day. This year it is on March 9th. It is a global campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health. Everyone gives importance to the heart and its health, that to following the deaths of many celebrities in the recent past, but often neglects the kidneys.
Kidneys are one of the most important organs which is involved in the removal of waste products produced in the body. Also, it is required for the maintenance of blood pressure, electrolyte balance, acid base balance in the body. It plays a role in the productions of hemoglobin and also required for the maintenance of bone health. When kidneys gets damaged, there will be accumulation of toxins in the body which can affect our bodily function and indirectly affect other organs.
1 out of 10 people (10% of the population) worldwide are suffering from some form of kidney disease worldwide, affecting more than 800 million individuals. It is a non-communicable disease and is considered as one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Chronic kidney disease is a condition in which there is permanent damage to the kidneys and is incurable. Such patients need life-long care. When they reach end stage, they must either undergo dialysis or transplantation. Each of this modality has its own pros and cons. Among the two modalities, transplantation is a better option, as it offers better survival, better quality of life and better monetary benefits on a long run.
Every year more than 1 lakh people are entering into the pool of dialysis, of which only 8000 to 10000 patients are undergoing transplantation. Rest of the patients are either continuing on dialysis or succumbing to their illness waiting for the transplant. Promoting more and more transplant is the need of the hour owing to the benefits it offer. However, there are few hurdles to promote transplantation. Lack of infrastructure, lack of expertise, religious beliefs and financial difficulties. But the most important hurdle is the lack of donors.
As we are moving into the era of nuclear families, donor shortage is going to be magnified. Only way to overcome this issue is by promoting organ donation. There are two type of donations; one living donations and second one is cadaver donations. Community can contribute to this cause by pledging their organs after death which can be a light to those who are suffering from end stage renal disease. Even 2 per million of our population donate their organs, it can meet the demands of people who are in need.
But the most important thing is "How to prevent kidney disease from happening"?
Golden Rules for Healthy Kidney
- Drink plenty of fluids everyday – at least 2 to 3 litres
- Maintain healthy diet – Reduce salt intake, avoid junk foods and processed foods, reduce the intake of red meat
- Exercise regularly – at least 30 minutes a day for 5 days in a week.
- Reduce weight – obesity is a major factor for kidney injury as it causes hyperfiltration in the kidney. With strict diet and exercise, reduce the weight if you are obese.
- Monitor sugars and control it – check your sugars regularly and keep it under check by diet, exercise, and medications. If you are diabetic, it is very important to keep the sugars under control from the beginning as it is the most common cause for kidney damage.
- There is a wrong notion that, the medications taken for sugars cause the kidney damage. But this is not true. Certain medicines need to be stopped when there is severe kidney failure but none of these medicines cause kidney damage.
- Check your blood pressure regularly – if you have high BP, consult a doctor and take regular medications to keep the BP below 140/80 mm Hg.
- Quit smoking.
- Get your kidney functions checked periodically by doing simple tests like blood creatinine and urine routine, especially when you have risk factors like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, family history of kidney disease and any past history of kidney injury.
- Avoid over the counter medications – especially pain killers like diclofenac, aceclofenac, mefenamic acid, ibuprofen. Even if it is required it has to be taken for a short duration and stop. Also be cautious while taking certain alternative medicines.
Prevention is better than cure. To emphasize, patients with risk factors should seek nephrologists advise early in the course of the disease so that the process can be reversed by necessary interventions. Please reach out to us in Aster RV Hospital, if you have more queries regarding the kidney related ailments.
Dr. Vinod Kumar is one of the best nephrologist and renal transplant surgeon in Bangalore. To consult with doctor, book an appointment online or call us : 080-6604-0400