March 9 is World Kidney Day 2017. The theme of this year's global awareness campaign is the often little-known link between obesity and kidney disease, as well as the need for early diagnosis.
Obesity is one of the risk factors that can lead to kidney disease and renal failure. It has also been picked as the theme for this year's World Kidney Day, March 9.
In all countries, diabetes and high blood pressure have become the most frequent causes of chronic kidney disease. Obesity can lead to chronic kidney disease indirectly, by increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, as well as causing direct damage to kidneys by increasing their workload, for example.
Specialists stress the importance of regular exercise, a healthy diet and keeping weight in check, while avoiding excess salt and protein intakes. They also advise quitting smoking and avoiding taking over-the-counter medications on a regular basis.
Although it has few symptoms, kidney disease can be easily detected with urine tests (testing for albumin) and blood tests (testing for creatinine).
Screening should be a priority for people at risk of developing kidney disease, such as diabetics and people with high blood pressure, obese people, smokers, over 50s or anyone with a family history of such conditions. Being obese doubles the risk of developing kidney disease.
Timely diagnosis can help prevent kidney disease progressing to kidney failure, requiring dialysis or transplant. A quarter of people undergo emergency dialysis because of late diagnosis. By this stage, their exhausted kidneys are no longer able to filter the blood, eliminating toxins from the body via urine.
Around 600 million people worldwide suffer from kidney disease and 38,000 are living with transplanted kidneys.
More information: www.worldkidneyday.org