Today is World Kidney Day, a day reserved to remind us all to preserve the health of our kidney from common disease and toxins that injure them. The most common cause of kidney failure in the world is diabetes, a disease especially prevalent in the Westernized world. About half the patients around the world on dialysis have lost kidney function because of poor blood pressure and glucose control associated with diabetes. Patients need to know that once kidney function is lost from diabetes it can’t be restored, so prevention is the order of the day.
Patients with diabetes should ask themselves the following questions, and if positive, should be especially vigilant about preserving their kidney function:
A) Does you have a family history of kidney disease?
B) Is my blood pressure above 140/90 mmHg?
C) Is my HbA1c above 7%?
If all 3 are true you are at very high risk for sustaining kidney damage and should get screened.
That said, the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois (NKFI) is encouraging you to “Protect and Prevent on World Kidney Day.”
They are partnering with Advocate Christ Hospital, Olive Harvey College, Chicago Family Health Services and Takeda today to draw attention to the need for early prevention and screenings through the nation’s only educational mobile unit, the KidneyMobile®, a custom motor coach offering free mobile education,screening and referral services to Illinois communities. The screeings will include: blood pressure, blood sugar, body mass index, waist circumference, urinalysis, diabetic foot checks and a blood draw to test for early signs of CKD. (Click here to learn more about today’s event.)
The NKFI’s press release explains that, “More than 26 million Americans (that’s approximately 900,000 Illinoisans!) have CKD, and millions more are at risk but most don’t know it. CKD, the ninth-leading cause of death in the U.S., often develops slowly with few symptoms, and many people don’t realize they are sick until the disease is advanced and requires dialysis or a transplant.”
“Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that a few simple lifestyle changes may slow the progression of CKD and can reduce the chances of developing it,” said Kate O’Connor, CEO of the NKFI. “Knowing the risk factors and controlling the major ones, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, may prevent kidney failure. Regular physical activity and a diet low in fat and salt can make a big difference in reducing risk and preventing complications.”
Please be attentive to your health and preserve your kidneys.
George Bakris, MD, FASN
Professor of Medicine
Director, Hypertension Center
The Kovler Diabetes Center
The Kovler Diabetes Center is proud to support this important community initiative, and we encourage everyone to “protect and prevent” on World Kidney Day! Click here to learn about other upcoming community events that we’re offering the diabetes community.