Are you kidney aware? Act early!

It's World Kidney Day

World Kidney Day (14th March 2019) is held to draw attention to the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle that will help protect your kidneys, your risks for developing kidney disease and the impact it has on those suffering from kidney disease.

Kidneys are essential to our health

• They get rid of excess water and toxins in your body
• They regulate your blood pressure
• They make red blood cells
• They keep your bones strong.

Normally, your kidneys are very efficient, but when they are damaged or lose function over time, this is known as chronic kidney disease.

Chronic kidney disease affects over three million people in the UK but up to a million of these people may be undiagnosed. Kidney disease is common, can affect anyone, but is treatable for some people if recognised early.

Early diagnosis and prompt treatment, as well as changes in diet and lifestyle, are vital and can often help slow down or prevent any further damage. Left unchecked, however, chronic kidney disease can progress to kidney failure, which is fatal without treatment by dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Kidney facts

  • Your kidneys filter approximately 180 litres of blood every day
  • Uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure are the biggest causes of kidney disease
  • One in four adults in the UK are severely overweight, a major risk for developing kidney disease
  • More women have kidney disease, yet more men start dialysis
  • Approximately 60,000 people in the UK die prematurely due to chronic kidney disease every year
  • People from socially disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to develop chronic kidney disease, need dialysis and die with the disease
  • People from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds are more likely to progress faster towards kidney failure.

Although anyone can develop kidney disease, there are a few things that can increase your risk:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular (heart) disease
  • A family history of kidney disease
  • A black, Asian or minority ethnic background  - this could mean an increased risk of developing kidney failure more quickly.

Easy ways you can reduce the risk of developing kidney disease:

  • Monitor your blood pressure: high blood pressure accelerates kidney damage so to protect yourself from kidney disease, keep to a diet low in salt and saturated fats
  • Keep fit and active: helping to reduce your blood pressure and 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 regularly: especially if anyone in your family has suffered from kidney disease, you have diabetes, have high blood pressure or are very overweight
  • Keep well hydrated: this helps the kidneys clear toxins from the body that can significantly lower the risk of developing kidney disease and reduce urinary tract infections. We are suggested to drink at least eight glasses of water a day (dialysis patients may need to restrict their fluid intake)
  • Seek help: if you know you have kidney disease and become unwell, e.g. with diarrhoea and vomiting, get advice from your doctor about the medications you are taking.