IKA counts on Early Screening for Kidney Disease to mark World Kidney Day

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) affects 1 in 10 people.

Often described as ‘a silent illness hiding in plain sight’. It usually develops slowly over time and can progress to total kidney failure.

It is estimated that CKD will become the fifth leading cause of death globally by 2040. Over 500 new patients in Ireland develop kidney failure every year.

World Kidney Day which will be celebrated on 10th March 2022 aims to bridge the knowledge gap to better kidney care. To mark World Kidney Day, the Irish Kidney Association (IKA), in association with the HSE’s National Renal Office (NRO), is running an awareness campaign to highlight the importance of early screening for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Diabetes Ireland is supporting the campaign to ensure that the core messaging about looking after your kidneys reaches one of the most common at-risk groups, i.e., people living with diabetes.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) significantly increases the risk of negative outcomes in people living with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure amongst other health conditions.  Therefore, IKA’s campaign aims to highlight that it is possible to prevent or slow down the progression of kidney disease. This is through lifestyle changes and medication. It all starts with simple blood and urine tests done through your GP to measure and monitor your kidney health.

The tagline message for the Irish Kidney Association’s campaign is ‘We’re Counting on You’. This represents the importance for the public to be proactive in managing their kidney health. So, they are being ‘counted on’ to get a simple blood test and urine test. It will reveal their kidney function ‘numbers’. These ‘numbers’ will represent how well the kidneys are functioning in filtering blood and removing waste from the body. If Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is detected early enough, its progression, through the five stages of CKD, can be slowed down. This therefore supports better patient outcomes.

Risk factors towards developing Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) include

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension (High blood pressure)
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Cancer
  • Liver conditions
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Obesity
  • Family health history of kidney disease
  • Aged over 50
  • Long term use of over-the-counter medications

The Irish Kidney Association activities to mark World Kidney Day. It will include a media campaign involving print and social media as well as radio advertising. An  information leaflet and poster will be available digitally to download from the Irish Kidney Association’s website www.ika.ie/kidneyhealth.   The Irish Kidney Association will also host a webinar register here on World Kidney Day, 10th March at 7pm led by Prof. George Mellotte, the National Clinical Lead for Renal Services,  HSE National Renal Office (NRO). Patients will also share their health experiences, including one who, through early diagnosis of CKD, delayed dialysis treatment for 15  years.

In backing the Irish Kidney Association’s campaign for kidney health screening Prof. Mellotte stated

“People with Chronic Kidney Disease are medically vulnerable to the effects of high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It is therefore important that people with Chronic Kidney Disease are identified. This is so that they can seek the appropriate treatment in a timely manner”.

Speaking in advance of World Kidney Day 2022, Ms. Carol Moore, Chief Executive, Irish Kidney Association said

“There is no public health screening programme for kidney disease in Ireland. So, we hope that the ‘Counting On You’ awareness campaign to mark World Kidney Day will encourage the public to take action to look after their kidney health. We are pleased that the National Renal Office is endorsing the campaign. We are delighted to be working closely with Diabetes Ireland to highlight the importance of kidney health screening. This is because diabetes is one of the main risk factors for chronic kidney disease”.

In explaining why Diabetes Ireland is supporting the Irish Kidney Association in its campaign, Clair Naughton, Diabetes Nurse and Regional Development Officer with Diabetes Ireland said

“Diabetes Ireland welcomes the opportunity to highlight the importance of screening for Chronic Kidney Disease. It is a condition that can go undetected in the early stages as it doesn’t cause symptoms. Diabetes, which affects in excess of 250,000 people in Ireland is one of the leading causes of Chronic Kidney Disease. Diabetes check-ups should include the routine monitoring of kidney function so that changes can be picked up early. It is easily done with routine kidney blood in addition to urine tests. Diabetes Ireland is urging all people with diabetes to attend for their routine diabetes check-ups with their GP or diabetes team, to ask for a kidney function test, and ensure that a discussion of kidney health becomes an integral part of check-ups. Find out the results of the test and regularly discuss their kidney health with their doctors: i.e.  Check, Know, Discuss”.

In order to help prevent or delay the progression of Chronic Kidney Disease, it is important to eat a healthy balanced diet, take regular physical activity and have a weight that is normal for your height. It is important for everyone in the high-risk group for CKD to maintain these healthy lifestyle choices as taking these steps will help to control diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol which will go a long way towards protecting the kidneys now and in the future.

The success of the campaign is also reliant on the valued support of healthcare professionals including GPs and Pharmacists. The Irish Pharmacy Union is supporting the campaign through sharing its message on its digital and print platforms.  Some independent pharmacy chains are also promoting the campaign to their customers. Therefore, the collaboration between all these interest groups in supporting the campaign is an indicator of the importance of monitoring kidney health.

Early diagnosis of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) through screening is key to better health outcomes while easing the burden on our health service.

World Kidney Day is held annually on the second Thursday in March. It is a global awareness campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.

For more information www.ike.ie/kidneyhealth,  www.worldkidneyday.org  and www.diabetes.ie

AstraZeneca has provided an unrestricted grant to the Irish Kidney Association for its World Kidney Day campaign.

 

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