A Call To Live Well With Kidney Disease

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The kidney is an important part of the body system. Kidneys remove wastes and extra fluid from the body, remove acid that is produced by the cells of the body and maintain a healthy balance of water, salt, and minerals, such as sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium in the blood. The kidney cleanses the blood of toxins and transforms the waste into urine. The kidneys carry out a number of highly integrated functions that include maintenance of body fluid, electrolytes and acid-base balance, regulation of blood pressure via orchestrated changes in sodium balance and the synthesis and secretion of renin.

The kidneys can become damage from injuries or diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. Indeed, high blood pressure and diabetes are the two most common causes of kidney failure. Kidney failure does not happen overnight. It is the end result of a gradual loss of kidney function. The most common causes of kidney failure besides high blood pressure and diabetes are chronic kidney damage, polycystic kidney disease, blocked urinary tract, kidney infection, diseases and conditions that may slow blood flow to the kidneys and lead to kidney injury such as, blood or fluid loss, blood pressure medications, heart attack, heart disease, infection, liver failure.

Kidney damage can be physically identified by swelling in the arms, wrists, legs, ankles, around the eyes, face, or abdomen, restless legs during sleep, joint or bone pain, and pain in the mid-back where kidneys are located.

Nevertheless, the need to live well with kidney disease will require serious medical attention and treatments such as high blood pressure medications, medications to lower cholesterol levels, medications to treat anemia, medications to relieve swelling, medications to protect your bones, a lower protein diet to minimize waste products in your blood, and treatment for kidney failure. Others include kidney transplantation, which is an operation that places a healthy kidney into the body, and hemodialysis, which is a treatment that removes wastes and extra fluid from your blood.

Although, kidney disease is a non-communicable disease and currently affects around 850 million people worldwide, being diagnosed with kidney disease is a huge challenge, both for the patients and those people around them. The diagnosis and management, particularly in advanced stages of kidney disease, impact severely upon their lives by reducing everyday activities like work, travel and socialising, causing numerous problematic side effects like fatigue, pain, depression.

And so this year World Kidney Day with theme “Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere: Living Well with Kidney Disease”, is essentially to continue to raise awareness of the increasing burden of kidney diseases and to strive for kidney health for everyone, everywhere. This is with the ultimate goal of encouraging life participation, to raise awareness of the importance of kidneys to the overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and associated health problems.
––Aisha Abdullahi, Department of Mass comm., University of Maiduguri