The kidneys are a vital organ that play a key role in many aspects of human health. World Kidney Days is held on the second Thursday in March every year with the aim to raise awareness about these cool but often overlooked organs.
What is World Kidney Day?
World Kidney Day is a global campaign and occurs every year. It aims to highlight the importance of the kidneys in human health as well as help to reduce the frequency of kidney disease.
When did it start?
World Kidney Day began in 2006 and each year has a particular theme. This year the theme is “Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere – Living Well with Kidney Disease”.
What are the kidneys?
The kidneys make up part of the renal system because they help the body get rid of waste in the form of urine. They are bean shaped organs and you have two. The kidneys also filter your blood before sending back to the heart.
What is kidney disease?
Chronic kidney disease is a long-term condition that affects the kidneys and stops them from working like they should. It’s common in people in as they get older. It can affect anyone but is more common in people who are black or of South Asian descent.
In the early stages, kidney disease often doesn’t have any symptoms because the body is able to cope even when kidney function is reduced. However, if it isn’t found early or the disease continues to develop, symptoms can include:
• Weight loss
• Loss of appetite
• Shortness of breath
• Increased need to pee, especially at night.
• Blood in your pee
• Difficulty sleeping
• Muscle cramps
• Swollen ankles, feet, or hands
• Erectile dysfunction in men
What should I do if I’m worried?
If you’re worried about your kidney function or are experiencing some of the above symptoms, then make an appointment with your GP. They will be able to discuss your concerns with you and carry out tests to see how well your kidneys are working.
How common is kidney disease?
Kidney disease affects approximately 1 in 10 people. It can occur at any age, but it becomes more common as you get older. That’s because after the age of 40, kidney filtration falls by about 1% each year. Around half of people over 75 have some degree of kidney disease. That’s important because it increases the risk of other health consequences such as heart attacks and strokes.
How to support WKD
You can do your bit by raising awareness of the importance of these vital organs by spreading the word on social media. You could host an event (virtually, of course) at your place of work or donate some money to a kidney charity.
It is important to raise awareness of kidney disease, particularly as there is no cure. Finding it early is the best chance of recovery for people with the disease.