Did you know that kidney disease affects around 850 million people worldwide? According to the International Society of Nephrology, an organization dedicated to advancing worldwide kidney health, one in every ten adults has chronic kidney disease (CKD). Even more so, the global burden of CKD is increasing and is projected to become the 5th most common cause of years of life lost globally by 2040. (World Kidney Day)

Doctor holding a tablet displaying a kidney diagram for elderly care.

Prevention and Awareness

While these statistics are shocking, we can change their course. Unlike other chronic illnesses, kidney disease can be prevented and progression to end-stake kidney disease can be delayed with appropriate access to basic diagnostics and early treatment. (World Kidney Day) In fact, that’s why World Kidney Day exists – celebrated every year on the second Thursday of March, it is a global campaign that aims at increasing awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our health and reduces the impact of kidney disease and its associated problems worldwide. (2020 Campaign Toolkit, ISN, IFKF)

The 2020 World Kidney Campaign is dedicated to highlighting the importance of preventative interventions to avert the onset and progression of kidney disease. (World Kidney Day) This year’s initiative focuses on building awareness of CKD and what clinical preventative interventions are available to the public.

8 Golden Rules of Kidney Health

As part of their awareness campaign, the WKC team put together the 8 Golden Rules of kidney health. We’ve provided a short summary below and linked to the original article to help you and your loved ones learn new ways to keep your kidneys healthy.

White number one against dark teal circle

Keep Fit and Be Active – keeping an ideal body weight and reducing your blood pressure can reduce the risk of chronic kidney disease.

White number two against orange circle

Eat a Healthy Diet – doing things like reducing your salt intake and limiting the amount of processed foods you eat can aid in healthier blood pressure which reduces the risk of CKD.

White number three against dark teal circle

Check and Control Your Blood Sugar – diabetes, especially for those who are middle aged or older, can cause kidney damage. Checking your blood sugar and getting tested for diabetes are easy ways to check early and often for CKD.

White number four against orange circle background

Check and Control Your Blood Pressure – high blood pressure can damage kidneys, and much like diabetes, it disproportionately affects those middle aged and older.

Icon representing senior home care with the number 5 in white.

Maintain Appropriate Fluid Intake – improper fluid intake prevents the body from functioning effectively. While the appropriate amount of fluid fluctuates based on exercise, climate, and health conditions, it’s important to talk to your doctor about hydration health.

Circle with the number 6, elderly home care.

Don’t Smoke – smoking slows the flow of blood to the kidneys, decreasing their ability to function normally. It also increases the risk of kidney cancer by 50 percent.

Circular icon with the number 7 in the center in a light color against a dark teal background.

Limit Your Intake of Over-the-Counter Anti-Inflammatories – common drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS)/painkillers can harm kidneys if taken regularly.

Billiard ball numbered 8 on an elderly home care.

Get Your Kidney Functions Checked If:

  • you have diabetes
  • you have hypertension
  • you are obese
  • you have a family history of kidney disease
A doctor with a tablet conversing about home care with an elderly female patient in a medical office.

Clinical Preventative Measures

As rule #8 points out, clinical preventative measures are crucial in reducing the risk of chronic kidney disease. According to ISN and IFKF, clinical preventative measures include early checkups, blood pressure and glycemic control, and management of co-morbidities like cardiovascular disease. The next time you visit your primary care provider, have a discussion about kidney health and your potential risk for chronic kidney disease. Remember, early intervention is key.