World Kidney Day is observed on March 14 every year so as to bring about awareness on various aspects regarding the health of our kidneys. When our kidneys are healthy, our bodies are able to eliminate toxins more efficiently and hence ensure overall immunity and strength. With their primary function of clearing out toxins from the body, kidneys are some of the susceptible organs of our body when it comes to infections and illnesses. The theme of this year’s World Kidney Day, Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere, is an endeavour to focus on the increasing number of kidney diseases worldwide and their prevention, management and treatment. Kidney-related diseases are known to affect all genders and across people of all ages. According to The International Society of Nephrology and The International Federation of Kidney Foundations, around 850 million people worldwide are afflicted with kidney diseases. This is why it is important to know about the most common kidney disorders.
Chronic Kidney Disease: According to the latest figures, Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) kills around 2.4 million people every year and is the 6th fastest growing cause of death, according to WorldKidneyDay.org. Chronic Kidney Disease occurs when the kidneys fail to function at their optimum best and gradually lose their ability to perform their job of removing toxins. This usually affects older people and is devoid of obvious symptoms in the initial stages. Based on the eGFR or Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR), CKD can be termed as mild, moderate or severe. In the later stages, your kidneys are likely to fail completely if not treated in time. Medication and treatment can help alleviate the symptoms. Dialysis is also carried out in the later stages.
Kidney stones: These refer to actual stone-like structures which could be big as a pea. These are formed when there are excess levels of minerals like calcium, oxalate and phosphorus in the urine. Kidney stones could be in both your kidneys or just one and could also get lodged in the urinary tract. Kidney stones can cause blockage in the excretion of urine and can hence be extremely painful. These could also cause bleeding and other symptoms like vomiting and lower body pain. With proper medication and timely treatment, kidney stones can be resolved.
Acute Kidney Injury or Acute Renal Failure: In this, your kidneys experience a sudden loss of their ability to get rid of toxins and maintain fluid balance. There is a high rate of mortality in this case and there is also a high chance of other diseases like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and hepatitis.
Kidney failure: This can occur during the severe stages of Chronic Kidney Disease or Acute Kidney Injury where the urine output, electrolyte balance and elimination of toxins is affected. Diabetes, hypertension and other diseases can significantly increase your risk of kidney failure. Medication, dialysis or kidney transplant are often suggested as treatment options.