April 21, 2024

World Kidney Day (WKD) is observed annually on the second Thursday of March. This year, it will be on March 12, and the theme is, “Kidney health for everyone everywhere- from prevention to detection and equitable access to care.”
Kidney disease affects about 850 million people in the world and one in 10 adults has chronic kidney disease (CKD). It is projected that in 2040 CKD will be the 5th most common cause of years of life lost worldwide.
Kidney disease especially CKD stage 5 or end stage kidney failure exacts high expenditures in all societies. In most countries at present there are policies on education and awareness about heart, brain, kidney, and other non-communicable diseases but most countries still lack national policies and strategies specifically directed towards kidney disease awareness, education, screening, and treatment. This year, WKD wants to highlight the importance of preventive interventions to prevent the onset and progression of kidney disease.
Prevention of disease can be classified as follows:
Primary prevention. Interventions done to prevent the onset of kidney disease. These are measures that prevent the common causes of kidney disease like diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, intake of drugs or medicines that damage kidneys, and kidney inflammation. These include activities that promote healthy lifestyle, healthy diets, information campaigns on substances that damage the kidneys, and screening of persons who are at risk like persons who have strong family history of kidney disease and kidney failure. Screening measures like routine urinalysis, urine test for albumin among high risk individuals, blood pressure taking, blood sugar tests are tools that aid in early diagnosis. Even regular medical examination or “routine checkup” may lead to discovery of elevated blood pressure or other risk factors in seemingly asymptomatic (no subjective complaints) persons.
Secondary prevention refers to interventions in persons already diagnosed to have kidney disease. Drugs that help the kidneys are prescribed like drugs that reduce the spillage of protein in the urine, the dose of medications are adjusted, and dietary interventions are done to prevent the progression of kidney disease from early stage (stage 1) to late stage (stage 5). Early diagnosis and early treatment of medical conditions among high risk individuals are done to slow down or prevent progression to dialysis stage or the need for transplantation.
Tertiary prevention refers to measures to control further progression and to prevent hazardous complications of kidney failure like bone disease, heart failure, fluid overload, and elevated blood pressure.
Several programs and activities are in store for WKD 2020. These pointers can help in our individual and personal participation in the early detection, prevention and treatment of kidney disease.
A positive family history for kidney failure puts a person at risk for kidney disease so go for regular medical examinations even if you do not feel anything.
Read labels of food that you eat and beverages that you drink. Is it possible that you are allergic to some of the food coloring used? These can incite unexplained kidney inflammation. Is the fad diet or a diet heavily advertised safe for you? High protein diet low in calories may help you lose weight but it may not be safe for your kidneys so go for a medical clearance first. Also, a diet that is suited for others may not be suited for you.
Read the label of medications or drugs that you use. Are they safe for your kidneys? Ask your doctor about dose adjustments if your serum creatinine (a test for kidney function) is elevated. At certain levels of kidney function (GFR for glomerular filtration rate), some drugs may not be used anymore or their dose need to be adjusted.
Exercise helps in our general well-being. Will you gain more benefits by having more strenuous physical exercise and for a longer time than prescribed? Heavy and prolonged exercise may aggravate spillage of protein into the urine among persons already with proteinuria/ albuminuria. This proteinuria is one of the factors that needs to be controlled to prevent or slow down kidney disease progression. Excessive exercise can also lead to excessive production of myoglobin which is excreted by the kidneys.

Medical questions and concerns may be emailed to [email protected] or [email protected].