World Kidney Day

World Kidney DayThursday, March 13th, is World Kidney Day.  It’s always the second Thursday in March. But what is it?  And who started it?  And why? As you can see, I have questions, lots of questions and always.

Between my step-daughter’s helping me update the look of the blog, fulfilling TheNephrologist.com’s suggestion that I add an About Me link (Let me know what you think about the About Me), and all the day to day tasks of life, this question has been nagging at me. Sure I could live a happy life without answering it, but why? (See what I mean about always having a question?)

I discovered this is a fairly new designation. It was only eight years ago that it was initiated.

According to http://worldkidneyday.org, “World Kidney Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.”

Sound familiar?  That’s where I’m heading with SlowItDown, What Is It And How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease, and this blog. We may be running along different tracks, but we’re headed in the same direction.kidney-book-cover

The 54 year old International Society of Nephrology (ISN) – a non-profit group spreading over 126 countries – is one part of the equation for their success.  Add to that the 15 year old International Society of Nephrology (ISN) – another non-profit located in 41 countries – along with a steering committee, The World Kidney Day Team and you have the makings of this particular concept.

While 157 countries celebrated last year, I suspect this year even more countries will be involved.  Why, you ask? (Oh, good, someone else asking questions.)  This year’s theme is Chronic Kidney Disease and Aging. We all age… in every country… in every part of the world… whether we’ve been diagnosed with CKD or not.

While there are numerous objectives for this year’s World Kidney Day, the one that lays closest to my heart is this one: “Educate all medical professionals about their key role in detecting and reducing the risk of CKD, particularly in high risk populations.”

If only my nurse practitioner had been trained, she could have warned me immediately that I needed to make lifestyle changes so the decline of my kidney function could have been slowed down earlier. How much more of my kidney function would I still have if I’d known earlier?  It’s too late for me. That was six years ago and this shouldn’t still be happening… but it is.weeping

I received a phone call last week that just about broke my heart.  Someone very dear to me sobbed, “He’s dying.” When I calmed her down, she explained a parent was sent to a nephrologist who told him he has end stage renal disease and needed dialysis or transplantation immediately.

I pried a little trying to get her to admit he’d been diagnosed before end stage, but she simply didn’t know what I was talking about.  There had been no diagnose of chronic kidney disease up to this point. There was diabetes, apparently out of control diabetes, but no one impressed upon this man that diabetes is the foremost cause of CKD.

What a waste of the precious time he could have had to do more than stop smoking, which he did (to his credit), the moment he was told it would help with the diabetes.  Would he be where he is now if his medical practitioners knew more about what he could have done to detect the disease, especially since this man is high risk due to his age and diabetes?  I fervently believe so.

While this is a terribly dramatic scenario, it happened and I’m willing to bet it’s happening more than we know.  I, for one, am more than happy we now have World Kidney Day.

Their site offers materials and ideas for celebrations as well as a page to post your own activity.  Take a look at the map of global celebrations and prepare to be awed at how wide spread World Kidney Day celebrations are.

Before you leave their page, take a detour to Kidney FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on the toolbar at the top of the page.  You can learn everything you need to know from what the kidneys do to what the symptoms (or lack thereof) of CKD are, from how to treat CKD to what to ask your doctor, and a toolbox full of helpful education about your kidneys to preventative measures.

BearandmeI have a close friend who is involved in the local senior center where she lives.  She says she doesn’t know anyone else but me who has this disease.  Since 1 out of every 10 people does and being over 60 places you in a high risk group, I wonder how many of her friends don’t know they have CKD or don’t even know they need to be tested.  I’d rather be mistaken here, but I’m afraid I’m not.

For those of you who have forgotten (easily read explanations of what results of the different items on your tests mean are in What Is It And How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease), all it takes is a blood test and a urine test.  I have routine blood tests every three months to monitor a medication I’m taking.  It was in this test, a test I took anyway, that my family physician uncovered Chronic Kidney Disease as a problem.

On the home front, I’ve been thinking about how much time and energy it takes to stay up and running.  I have allergies, but I am NOT removing my sweet Bella from our home.  Since the antibodies in the immunology injections do not affect the kidneys in any way, I’ve opted to go that route.IMAG0269 (1)

The plantar fasciitis is still a pain (Get it? Are you groaning?), so I asked the podiatrist to help me fight it without medication. I’m looking forward to enjoying dancing again without having to pay for it afterwards.  More ice, more exercise, more rest.  I can find a way to do that.

Until next week (when it will still be National Kidney Month),

Keep living your life!

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