Healthy kidneys, healthy kids: marking World Kidney Day

Today is World Kidney Day, a global campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of healthy kidneys. To support this year’s theme – kidney disease and children - Nyomi discusses the importance of early detection and highlights some recent research BioMed Central has published in this field.

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Every year on the second Thursday in March, the International Society of Nephrology and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations mark World Kidney Day to raise awareness of the importance of kidneys to human health. The theme of World Kidney Day 2016 is Kidney Disease & Children. Act Early to Prevent It!

According to the US National Kidney Foundation, roughly 10% of the worldwide population is affected by chronic kidney disease (CKD). Also known as chronic renal disease, CKD is the gradual loss of kidney function over time, which can lead to kidney failure if left untreated.

Kidney failure may require hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis or kidney transplantation. Another form of kidney damage is acute kidney injury (AKI), a rapid deterioration of kidney function that results in the build-up of waste and excess fluid in the body.

Why you need a kidney… or two

They stop working if they are damaged, but bodies can survive on as little as a few hundred thousand nephrons.

Most people are born with two kidneys, each of which has roughly a million tiny blood filters called nephrons. Nephrons purify the blood and remove waste, maintaining a healthy body. They stop working if they are damaged, but bodies can survive on as little as a few hundred thousand nephrons.

This is why most people can live normally with only one kidney. However, if the number drops too low, the nephrons that remain are not enough to sufficiently purify your blood.

Catching it while they’re young

Roughly two-thirds of chronic kidney disease cases are caused by diabetes and high blood pressure. Many children with these conditions may be at risk of kidney disease at an early age. The risk is higher for those with a family history of chronic kidney disease and for people of African American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, and Native American descent. Some babies are also born with congenital abnormalities (such as only one kidney or an irregularly-structured kidney) that puts them at greater risk.

The good news is that early detection can help prevent kidney disease from turning into kidney failure. As early chronic kidney disease usually has no signs or symptoms, it is important for those with high risk to get tested regularly. There are simple urine or blood tests that doctors can administer to gauge kidney health.

Care for children with kidney disorders

One common precursor to kidney disease in children is nephrotic syndrome, a collection of symptoms that includes loss of protein in urine and water and salt retention in the body that point to kidney damage.

One common precursor to kidney disease in children is nephrotic syndrome, a collection of symptoms that includes loss of protein in urine and water and salt retention in the body that point to kidney damage.

A study protocol published in Canadian Journal of Kidney Health and Disease describes the first national, Canadian, population-based evaluation of treatment of children with nephrotic syndrome. This large-scale study aims to investigate the variations in care at pediatric nephrology clinics and how these affect patient outcomes.

For children diagnosed with, or are at risk of, a kidney disease, healthcare can be costly and not widely available. Research published in BMC Nephrology looked at telehealth services in Queensland, Australia for children referred to a pediatric nephrologist over a ten year period. It suggests that these services provide a worthwhile and economic method for assessing and monitoring children with renal disorders.

Education about risk factors and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are key to preventing all types of kidney disorders. In honor of World Kidney Day, take some time to inform yourself about the importance of kidneys to your health.


Read more about acute kidney injury in our blog post: “Spotlight on acute kidney injury in ICU patients”

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Renewing Serum

Glad to know that there is a kind of event like this because it makes us all aware of the importance of taking care of our kidney and our health in general especially to kids nowadays. Thanks for sharing this post. I learned a lot from it.

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