Vancouver – March is Kidney Health Month and BC Renal and The Kidney Foundation of Canada, BC & Yukon Branch are sending out the message that you could lose up to 80% of your kidney function and not even know it.
It is important for British Columbians to be kidney smart, and when it comes to their kidney health, knowledge is definitely power.
Kidney disease is potentially life threatening and has no cure. It's also much more common than people think. 1 in 10 people have kidney disease, which occurs when kidney damage is present or there is decreased kidney function for a period of three months or more. When this occurs, kidneys can no longer do their important work.
"Many people living with kidney disease show no symptoms until the disease is very advanced, so it's really important to know the risks and to talk to you doctor about being screened for kidney disease if you fall into one of the risk categories," says Dr. Mike Bevilacqua, chair, BC Renal Kidney Care Committee and appointed medical advisor, The Kidney Foundation.
"The earlier someone knows they have compromised kidneys, the higher the chance of preventing or delaying the onset of kidney failure and the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant."
"A couple of years ago I had been feeling unwell, and a visit to the doctor determined I had high blood pressure," remarks Patrick Ng. "Further testing showed my high blood pressure was caused by deterioration to my kidney function. I was shocked as no one in my family had kidney disease and I did not know a lot about the disease and its risk factors." Today Patrick is on life-saving hemodialysis and waiting for a kidney transplant.
The leading causes of kidney disease, include: diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. In addition, those with a family history of kidney disease or individuals from certain ethnic backgrounds, including Asian, South Asian, African, and Aboriginal are also at a greater risk for kidney disease.
There are things you can do to help protect your kidneys like maintaining a healthy lifestyle which includes managing blood pressure and blood sugar levels," continues Bevilacqua.
BC Renal and the Kidney Foundation are encouraging the public to take a simple and quick kidney self-assessment, and to talk to their doctor if they are at risk for kidney disease. For more information, and to check out the kidney self-assessment go to kidneyhealthcheck.ca
To view our Kidney Health Month PSA see below. PSA is available in both long and short English as well as versions with Chinese and Punjabi subtitles.
The Kidney Foundation of Canada, BC and Yukon Branch exists to help prevent kidney disease or delay the onset. We also provide support services for patients who have kidney disease, are on dialysis and promote organ donation to increase kidney transplant rates. We are here to help each and every kidney patient until there is a cure.
BC Renal plans and coordinates health-care services for patients with kidney disease in British Columbia. We work closely with British Columbia's regional health authorities to ensure the 19,000 registered patients with kidney disease in BC receive the best care possible. Follow us on Twitter @BCRenalAgency
The Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) plans, manages and evaluates selected specialty and province-wide health care services across BC, working with the five geographic health authorities to deliver province-wide solutions that improve the health of British Columbians. For more information, visit www.phsa.ca or follow us on Twitter @PHSAofBC.