Golden Rules for Kidney Health at the Beginning of National Kidney Awareness Week

Father and daughter, Paul and Tanya Nel, after their kidney transplant.

More than two million people around the world receive dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant. Many more would need treatment but do not receive it mainly due to lack of access. The same is true for South Africa, which has one of the highest rates of end-stage kidney disease in the world and a very low rate of organ and tissue donation and transplantation. The lack of education in the medical field and the general public around the situation only makes things more difficult.

According to a press release issued by Transplant Education for Living Legacies (TELL) on the occasion of National Kidney Week September 6-10, South Africa is one of 12 African countries to perform kidney transplants and the only one to perform transplants from deceased donors.

“Not all people with end-stage renal disease will be eligible to be placed on the waiting list and patients who are, face an average waiting period of 12 to 15 years for the O-blood group. . Living donors are saving lives. Alternative for patients who can find a matched donor, it would be either a family member (living donor), a friend (unrelated living donor) or a stranger (altruistic donor ). will be able to withstand the operation and are healthy enough to live with just one kidney, ”the statement said.

Paul Nel donated his kidney to his daughter Tanya in June of this year. Tanya suffers from a rare genetic condition that caused her kidneys to fail at the age of 18. Paul did not hesitate to take tests to see if it was compatible to be a donor for his daughter. The transplant has been postponed twice, the first due to Tanya’s access (failing fistula) and the second time due to COVID-19. Both father and daughter are doing very well after the operation, Tanya can focus on her studies and spend time with family and friends.

Nel said he did not foresee the impact of the transplant on his life, not only on his daughter, but on the whole family. “She was always tired and the dialysis gave her a big headache. As a family, any vacation or even just a weekend had to be meticulously planned as we had to make sure there was a dialysis unit nearby and that they had slots available to accommodate Tania, ”he said.

According to TELL, you don’t think about your kidneys and the work they do until they stop working. “You can lose up to 90% of your kidney function before you show any signs or symptoms. World Kidney Day, a global awareness campaign, has developed eight golden rules to follow to make sure you keep your precious kidneys healthy. ”

These golden rules are:

1. Monitor and control your blood pressure

It is good practice to know what your blood pressure is; because high blood pressure can damage your kidneys and cause chronic kidney disease (CKD) which can progress to end-stage kidney disease (ESRD).

Normal blood pressure is 120/80. If your blood pressure is above this level when measured on two different days, see your healthcare professional to discuss lifestyle and diet changes you need to make to control your blood pressure.

2. Control your blood sugar

Many people with diabetes develop end-stage kidney disease (ESRD), so it’s important to keep your blood sugar levels up and have your kidney function tested regularly. With early detection, progression to ESRD in diabetes can be reduced or even prevented.

3. Get moving

Some of the benefits of regular exercise are:

-maintain your ideal body weight;

-reduce blood pressure;

-reduce the risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD).

4. Eat a healthy diet and keep your weight stable

The reason for having a healthy diet is that it can prevent many lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic diseases associated with chronic kidney disease. So keeping your weight under control puts less stress on all of your organs.

Limit your salt intake to 5-6 grams per day (one teaspoon). Processed foods contain a lot of salt, so it’s best to prepare your meal with fresh ingredients whenever possible.

5. Drink enough water

Your kidneys will thank you for taking care of them, drinking enough water helps rid your system of excess minerals such as sodium, potassium, and phosphates which can damage your organs and ultimately death. The ideal amount of fluid you should take will be influenced by your activity level, the climate you stay in, health conditions, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. Consult with your doctor about the appropriate fluid intake for your condition.

6. Don’t start smoking and stop smoking if you do.

Smoking causes less blood to reach your kidneys, which makes them work properly. As stated above, if your kidneys are not functioning properly, they cannot remove excess minerals and toxins from your body.

7. Avoid taking regular over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs.

If you regularly take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen), you may be at risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD). See your healthcare professional to manage your pain and protect your kidneys.

8. Have your kidney function checked regularly if you are in the high risk group.

You are considered to be at high risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD) if you have:



-a family history of kidney disease

-are obese

“Unfortunately, there is no cure for chronic kidney disease (CRF), but it can be prevented and progression to end stage renal disease (ESRD) can be managed. Make sure you follow the eight rules of or to take care of your kidneys. The beans (kidneys) in your body will thank you. “

Source: TELL press release

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