Kidneys are tremendously important organs in the human body that we cannot live without. They are each about the size of an apple, but shaped like a bean, and they work hard to rid the body of toxins every single day. They filter about 120 – 150 quarts of blood into 1-2 quarters of urine that are full of bodily waste and extra fluids, and we have to make sure we are taking good care of them because they are not easy to replace. Fortunately, there is a campaign spearheaded in March to help inspire others to take action and spread the word about the importance of good kidney health!
The Dangers of Kidney Failure
According to the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), 1 in 3 Americans are at risk for kidney disease due to diabetes, high blood pressure, excessive alcohol intake, or a family history of kidney failure. Why does this matter, you wonder? Kidneys matter because they:
- Stabilize the composition/makeup of blood, enabling the body to function
- Reduce levels of waste and extra fluid in the body
- Regulate levels of electrolytes. (Ex.: sodium, potassium and phosphate.)
- Create hormones that:
- Maintain blood pressure
- Produce red blood cells
- Strengthen bones
So, when kidneys begin to fail, so does everything else and it is a very serious occasion. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is how it begins, and it signifies the organs are not working up to par.(2) There are 5 stages of the disease, with 5 being the point when one would need a dialysis or kidney transplant to live. (2) Thankfully, the NKF has a very handy A to Z health guide on kidney disease, with tons of articles and information on the illness, symptoms, causes, and prevention.
Time to Learn More
On top of all that written content, the NKF is also producing some colorful, eye-catching graphics that enable others to “get to know their hard working kidneys”. These graphics can be printed out and given to children and adults alike, providing them with important info on our beloved organs that will help them remain aware of the importance of good kidney health.
The NKF is also working hard to make sure that everyone understands the importance of getting kidney screenings! They are providing free screenings throughout the month of March to those most at risk for kidney disease. This includes: people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of kidney failure!
The NKF is highlighting March as a time to think about your kidney health. They are even going so far as leveraging twitter, quizzes and a special hash tag (#WorldKidneyDayNKF ) to help spread the word and give others a chance at some actionable steps to take towards ensuring good kidney health. Although March is a good place to start in advocating kidney health awareness, it extends much further past the month. Get out there and spread this post, NKF resources and any other info you can find about maintaining kidney health, you could be saving someone’s life!
1) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (March 2014). “Your Kidneys and How They Work”. Retrieved from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/kidneys-how-they-work .
2) National Kidney Foundation. (2017). “A to Z Health Guide: Kidney Disease”. Retrieved from: https://www.kidney.org/category/kidney-disease .