09 Mar World Kidney Day 2016: Early Diagnosis and Treatment
March 10, 2016 is World Kidney Day, a global awareness campaign to emphasize the importance of the two bean-shaped organs located in the back of our abdomens. The 2016 theme stresses the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of children with renal disease, a topic of particular interest to the Alport syndrome community.
Know The Signs of Kidney Disease
Our kidneys constantly clean our blood, help remove waste in the form of urine and perform other tasks that are paramount to our overall health, such as balancing the body’s fluids and controlling the production of red blood cells. Despite their immense importance, a recent study determined that nearly half of Americans do not fully understand the role of the kidneys. To make matters worse, 71% were either unsure or incorrect in naming the signs and symptoms of kidney disease.
That’s a pretty big problem because many renal diseases, including Alport syndrome, are much more manageable when detected early. The World Kidney Day 2016 theme is childhood diagnosis and treatment, which is especially important to families with inherited kidney diseases like Alport syndrome because preliminary studies indicate early diagnosis and treatment can delay the onset of renal failure in patients. The earlier treatments begin, the better protection the kidneys receive.
Unfortunately, some symptoms of renal disease, such as overall fatigue, trouble sleeping and muscle cramps are often dismissed by patients who assume that work, stress and exercise are simply taking a toll on their body. Still other symptoms may not present themselves at all until it is too late! So how can people who are at risk of kidney disease find out early while their condition is still manageable?
A simple urine test can have a tremendous impact on the life of someone at risk for Alport syndrome or other kidney disease. Unfortunately, this simple test is not always part of a general physical so you may need to ask for it. Who should request this test?
- Anyone diagnosed with Alport syndrome should be tested regularly. Kidney function can change quickly so if it has been a while since your last test, call your doctor to schedule one.
- All family members should be tested when one family member is diagnosed with Alport syndrome. Because this is a genetic disease it often impacts multiple family members so test parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, etc. By testing everyone regularly, you can catch the earliest signs of any changes to kidney function.
- Everyone should have their kidney function tested regularly, even if their family is not at risk for Alport syndrome. In fact, 1 in 3 American adults is at risk for developing kidney disease, but most don’t know it. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health conditions can contribute to poor kidney health.
- When in doubt: GET TESTED ANYWAY. Tell your friends. Tell strangers. Awareness can literally save someone’s life!
Learn More About Taking Care of Your Kidneys
In addition to having your kidney function checked, take the time to further educate yourself and others on World Kidney Day and throughout Alport Awareness Month about the importance of early diagnosis and treatment for kidney disease:
- Learn about Alport syndrome treatment.
- Read articles from the experts, especially the guidelines for treatment of both adult and pediatric patients with Alport syndrome.
- Read our blog series by Professor Oliver Gross Part 1 and Part 2 on early diagnosis and what you can do to protect your kidneys.
- Be sure to check out the 8 Golden Rules for keeping your kidneys healthy.
- Use social media networks to learn more by checking hashtags #WorldKidneyDay, #KidneyMonth, #AlportAwareness and #AlportSyndrome. Links to ASF social media are at the top of this page.
World Kidney Day website