World Kidney Day: Simple Steps to Avoid Kidney Diseases
By Chibueze Obi-George,
World Kidney Day is marked on 10th of March every year. It is a global campaign aimed at raising awareness on the importance of our kidneys. Kidneys play a huge role in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in the body through the process of urine formation and voiding of same. Failure to form and void urine normally, leads to saturation of our body with toxic chemicals and more than enough fluid thus expanding volumes and sizes of organs and ultimately impair normal body functions.
Our body requires kidneys to function properly and without a healthy one, even the simplest of tasks become a difficult task.
World Kidney Day was established in 2006 to raise awareness about the importance of kidneys. This year's theme is "Kidney Health For All". The goal is to raise awareness about kidney health and how people can live a long and disease-free life.
However, despite the increase in the awareness of kidney disease and how it can be prevented, the rate of reported cases of kidney damage is alarmingly increasing even amongst young people.
A week ago, I was in Bayelsa state. While driving to my destination for a business meeting, an advert kept interrupting the music flow from the car stereo. I paid attention and found that it was a plea by a young man, a popular voice on radio in the state. He was asking for over 20 million for dialysis because he was diagnosed of end stage kidney disease.
Also, In the past few years I have noticed a rise in the number of young people soliciting for financial support on social media for either dialysis or kidney transplant.
In Nigeria, the leading causes of kidney disease are – high blood pressure, diabetes and glomerulonephritis (kidney inflammation from a variety of causes). Other causes of kidney disease include high cholesterol, kidney infections, kidney stones, polycystic kidney disease. In addition, environmental pollution, unsafe drinking water, abuse of analgesics and use of pesticides has also been linked to the development of kidney disease. It is also worth noting that there are certain high-risk groups. Older people, individuals who smoke and are obese have a greater likelihood of developing chronic kidney disease.
Though In 2019, an alarm about two new leading causes of kidney diseases for Nigerians was raised. These were identified as toxicity caused by long term drinking of traditional herbal concoctions and exposure to harmful chemicals due to long term use of skin whitening creams.
The maxim prevention is better than treatment and cure is very true for kidney disease. Kidney disease is easy and cheaper to prevent and diagnose and more expensive to treat.
To prevent kidney diseases, the under-listed are essential
Routine kidney function tests and abdominal scan will help to find and treat kidney diseases early. These routine checks are most recommended in diabetic patients
Also, regular monitoring and control your blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
In addition, other important steps to ensure a healthy kidney include; regular exercise, abstinence from smoking, avoidance of self-medication and staying with foods lower in salt/spices and cholesterol.
It is also critical to ensure that we drink enough water daily and eat more fruits and vegetables.
Finally, this year's theme "Kidney Health for All" is a direct message to us all to take responsibility for the health of our kidneys by making right choices daily.