Held every year on the second Thursday in March, World Kidney Day is an awareness day that brings global attention to the importance of kidney health. The day aims to highlight the risk factors that can lead to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

In addition, one of the primary goals of the World Kidney Day is to educate the public about the management of CKD and to encourage people to consider kidney donation and transplants as an effective way to help those with kidney failure. The observance was established in 2006 as a joint initiative of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF).

The Body’s Filter

Responsible for removing waste products from the human body by filtering the blood, regulating blood pressure, and producing critical life-sustaining hormones, kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located under a person’s rib, one on each side.

By helping the body excrete waste and excess fluid through urine, kidneys help optimize the composition of blood, keep bones strong, and help the body make red blood cells. Any breakdown in the function of the kidneys can lead to poor health at a minimum, and can be fatal at the extreme.

Maintaining Kidney Health

Because of this, reducing the risk of kidney disease and failure is essential. Medical professionals suggest that healthy eating, keeping one’s weight in check, and keeping active are simple ways for people to ward off kidney disease. In addition, it is recommended that people at risk for kidney disease should try to avoid overusing over-the-counter and prescription drugs, as well as regularly screening their blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

Managing Kidney Disease

One of the primary purposes of World Kidney Day is to advocate best practices in detecting and effectively managing kidney diseases and kidney failure. If detected early enough, kidney disease can be easily treated with medication and diet. Those with chronic high blood pressure, diabetes, and other conditions that can affect kidney function are therefore encouraged to get routine checks for kidney function.

Encouraging Organ Donation

As kidney disease progresses, management and treatments include medication, diet, and dialysis – artificially eliminating waste produced by the body. A kidney transplant is also an option available for people suffering from CKD. Replacing the defective organ with a healthy organ from a donor can help reverse poor kidney function and increase the quality of life. Because a person needs only one kidney to survive, a kidney donor can be a live family member or friend or even a good samaritan stranger.

What Happens on World Kidney Day?

World Kidney Day is not an official holiday, so businesses, schools, and government offices are open. Kidney health groups, educators, medical professionals, and policy-makers organize outreach drives, conferences, and workshops to bring attention to the importance of kidney health in maintaining a happy and fulfilling lifestyle.