The Amherst News

Shining a spotlight on Kidney Health Month

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AMHERST, N.S. — The Amherst Chapter Kidney Foundation of Canada is looking forward to a busy 2020.

The foundation is again hosting two major fundraiser­s during the year, including the 25th annual golf tournament on June 27 and the Walk for Life at Dickey Park on Sept. 27.

March 1 marked the beginning of Kidney Health Month and World Kidney Day was on March 12.

One in 10 people has chronic kidney disease (CKD). According to The Internatio­nal Society of Nephrology, the global burden of CKD is increasing and is projected to become the fifth most common cause of years of life lost globally by 2040.

During the month of March, a global campaign is aimed at raising awareness of the importance of kidneys. Kidney Foundation volunteers and staff will engage in community activities designed to create awareness and education about preventive behaviours, risk factors and to highlight programs and services.

“Despite being vital organs, kidneys are all too often overlooked or ignored as part of our overall health. The increasing number of people with kidney disease is an important challenge facing the Canadian health-care community,” Elizabeth Myles, national executive director of the Kidney Foundation of Canada, said in a news release. “Bringing a greater awareness of kidney health and ways to prevent the onset of kidney failure remains a key priority for the foundation.”

A current campaign is taking action to have kidneys recognized as the vital, lifesustai­ning organs they are.

The campaign challenges Canadians’ knowledge of kidneys and encourages them to get the facts.

Chronic kidney disease is a major cause of catastroph­ic health expenditur­e. Healthcare costs for those living with the disease exceed $40 billion per year in Canada.

World Kidney Day continues to raise awareness of the increasing burden of kidney disease worldwide and to strive for kidney health for everyone, everywhere. Specifical­ly, the 2020 campaign highlights the importance of preventive interventi­ons to avert the onset and progressio­n of kidney disease.

This year, it is predicted that another 6,000 people will be diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). For all but a few, dialysis will be unavoidabl­e.

Statistica­lly speaking, most will not be added to the kidney transplant waiting list, due to medical ineligibil­ity or other reasons. They will have to endure the life-sustaining, yet often burdensome, dialysis treatments for the rest of their lives. The newly diagnosed ESKD patients who are added to the waiting list can expect to wait an average of three years for a donor kidney to become available. Some will wait up to six years or more. Some will eventually withdraw from the waiting list, either for medical or personal reasons, and others will die before an appropriat­e donor kidney becomes available.

Currently, about 3,400 Canadians are waiting for a donor kidney. Roughly 1,700 kidney transplant­s are performed annually.

“The increasing number of people with kidney disease is an important challenge facing the Canadian health-care community.”

Elizabeth Myles National executive director, Kidney Foundation of Canada

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