Kidney disease is often referred to as a “silent disease” because it can go undetected for years, with no symptoms in its early stages. 850 million people in the world have kidney disease. Yet, few are aware of its dangers.
On average, kidney disease affects one in nine people with most of them not even being aware that they are ill. This is because patients suffer silently at first because CKD is largely asymptomatic at the beginning. This lack of early detection can be fatal as kidney dysfunction that lasts longer than three months most often is irreparable. Thankfully, early recognition and appropriate treatment can slow down or even stop the progression of CKD.
March is National Kidney Month and serves as a reminder of the importance of kidney health. For individuals, knowing the risk for kidney disease is the first step to protecting their kidneys. Even if an individual feels healthy, if they are over 60 or have risk factors (diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease), consider talking with them about getting tested for kidney disease to identify a kidney care plan if necessary. Having a plan may reduce the risk for serious health problems, like heart attack and stroke.
It is important to encourage patients to take steps to protect their kidneys and work with them to create a treatment or monitoring plan that fits their lifestyle, mobility, health status and dietary needs. The plan may include managing existing risk factors for kidney disease, collaborating with a registered dietician to create a meal plan or getting help to quit smoking. Because chronic kidney disease is progressive, it is important to continue to follow kidney health and to update the care plan as needed.
National Kidney Month is recognized as an opportunity to get people interested in the health of their kidneys. As such, it’s the perfect time to participate in one of the free screenings. The National Kidney Foundation has a listing of locations and information on their website. While on the site, individuals can complete one of their ‘are you at risk’ quizzes to help find out if they NEED, or just should get to a clinic to be tested. These are just a few of the things that pop up each National Kidney Month that can help you extend the life and the health of our kidneys.
World Kidney Day 2023 will take place on Thursday, March 9. This year’s theme is Kidney Health for All – Preparing for the unexpected, supporting the vulnerable!