On March 12, join people around the world in drinking a glass of water to celebrate our kidneys. These fist-sized organs, tucked neatly under our rib cage, do so many essential tasks to keep us healthy. Their health is affected by the lifestyle choices we make, by aging, and other factors.
What do the complicated and amazing kidneys do for us? Their main job is to filter toxins and excess water from our blood. They also help control our blood pressure, produce red blood cells and keep our bones healthy. Every day the kidneys carefully control the salt and water in our bodies to help maintain our blood pressure.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a progressive loss of kidney function. Between 8 and 10% of the adult population has some form of kidney damage. According to the World Kidney Day organization, between 1990 and 2012, there has been an increase of 82% of people affected by CKD. In some countries, kidney disease is among the greatest causes of death, oftentimes due to lack of access to or availability of kidney care. There are 112 countries that do not have resources for dialysis and transplant.
Kidney disease affects quality of life. There are several easy ways that you can reduce your risk of developing kidney disease, including:
– Monitoring your blood pressure
– Eating healthy and keeping your weight in check
– Keeping regular control of your blood sugar levels
– Not smoking
– Maintaining a healthy fluid intake
– Not taking over-the-counter pills on a regular basis
– Getting your kidney function checked if you have one or more high risk factors (such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, one of your parents or other family members suffers from kidney disease)
– Keeping fit and active.
To keep fit and active, consider applying for an Alive to Strive Fitness Grant. Grants are available for people with less than 30% kidney function and can be used toward almost any activity that keeps you active. Fitness classes, bowling, gym memberships, and personal training sessions are just some activities! You can also participate in the Alive to Strive Race on April 26, a run for kidney health.
Raising awareness of CKD and taking measures to prevent kidney damage are very important. On World Kidney Day, join the conversation about chronic kidney disease prevention. Take a picture of yourself drinking and giving a glass of water. Tweet it to @worldkidneyday with the message: “Today I celebrate #worldkidneyday. I drink and give a #glassofwater because #isupportwkd”. You can also send your photo by email to email@example.com. Your picture will appear in the World Kidney Day photo gallery.