On March 13th, DaVita and kidney care professionals from around the globe have an extraordinary opportunity to work in harmony in raising awareness for one of the world’s silent killers—chronic kidney disease.
As we care for more patients affected by this disease, many of us see how CKD is quietly, yet rapidly, becoming one of the world’s biggest health concerns. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the global incidence of CKD is growing by approximately 8 percent each year. The WHO says approximately 1.4 million patients worldwide are on dialysis. Yet, there are likely millions more who don’t receive any care. In India, for example, less than 10 percent of end stage renal disease patients receive any form of renal replacement therapy.
So, how do we raise awareness of this major health concern?
The first step is to empower our patients with knowledge. We play a critical role in helping patients understand their risks and urging them to get screened for decreased kidney function. Sharing this information outside the walls of our clinics expands our ability to reach those at risk. That’s why DaVita is hosting screening events in dialysis clinics as well as other community centers across the globe on World Kidney Day. We should remind patients that when caught early enough, diet and proper attention from a care team can slow or even halt the progression of CKD in some cases.
Because early stages of CKD often have no symptoms, it is our responsibility to educate patients on the risk factors for kidney disease such as diabetes and chronic hypertension. We can also help our patients learn what to look for as the disease progresses. These symptoms can include: changes in urination; swelling of the feet ankles, hands or face; fatigue or weakness; shortness of breath; ammonia breath or metallic taste in the mouth; back or side pain; itching; loss of appetite; nausea and vomiting; and an increase in hypoglycemic episodes.
Finally, as kidney care professionals, we must remember to engage in open conversation about kidney disease. Joining DaVita’s Google + Hangout, Be #KidneyAware: Raise Kidney Disease Awareness Worldwide, is wonderful opportunity to educate our communities on how to minimize the risk of kidney disease and provide tips for improving the quality of life for those living with the disease. Join us for a unique panel discussion between U.S. and international kidney care professionals on how we can work to address the issue of global CKD. Many of DaVita’s past Google+ Hangouts have covered fascinating topics and attracted large audiences. We hope you’ll tune in on World Kidney Day!