World Kidney Day, who is most at risk?

World Kidney Day, who is most at risk?


World Kidney Day is celebrated on Thursday 14 March 2024. This year the objective promoted by the International Society of Nephrology and the International Kidney Disease Foundation is to increase awareness of chronic kidney disease (CKD), i.e. the progressive reduction of kidney function, the incidence of which is continually growing. Many initiatives are planned throughout Italy, organized jointly by the SIN (Italian Society of Nephrology) and the FIR (Italian Kidney Foundation): from free screenings in hospitals, reception centers and sports centers, to information points also in schools to promote kidney health education among young people. But who risks the most? We talked about it with Stefano Bianchipresident of SIN.

The numbers of chronic kidney disease

“Globally, chronic kidney disease is now considered a public health priority. The total number of patients in the world is just over 850 million – Bianchi tells Salute – In particular it should be noted that the prevalence of CKD, currently around 10% in the world, is constantly growing”. Currently, CKD is among the top fifteen causes of death, but it is estimated that by 2040 it will become the fifth cause of death in the world, with deaths increasing from 1.2 million in 2016 to 3.1 million in 2040, he further explains the expert. In fact, between 2007 and 2017, mortality linked to chronic kidney disease increased by 41%.

Who is at risk

“The subjects most at risk of developing CKD and in whom this must be ‘actively sought’ are those with type II diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, arterial hypertension, obesity, heart failure and heart disease. ischemic – explains Bianchi again. Especially in the presence of these risk factors, it is therefore essential to periodically undergo control tests, such as the determination of creatininemia (i.e. the levels of creatinine in the blood) and the urine test with measurement of albuminuria: “Simple, inexpensive and that can be performed in all healthcare settings, which can exclude or highlight the presence of a kidney problem”, underlines the expert.

Signs to pay attention to

But, in addition to risk factors, are there other warning signs to pay attention to? In most cases, CKD progresses without showing specific symptoms until the more advanced stages, continues the expert: “Some alarm bells, however, must trigger suspicion and require an evaluation by the general practitioner and, when necessary, by the nephrologist ”. Among these, we remember the presence of swelling in the legs and face, especially in the morning as soon as you wake up, unusual tiredness, gastro-intestinal symptoms such as reduced appetite, nausea and vomiting, as well as alterations in sleep, irritability, alterations in the characteristics of the urine (foamy or dark-colored urine).

World Kidney Day

And precisely because these are pathologies that tend not to manifest themselves clearly until the most advanced stages, which require life-saving therapies or interventions with a strong impact on the quality of life of patients and their families, promoting awareness on the topic of kidney diseases is fundamental. This is the aim of World Kidney Day. On this occasion FIR and SIN organize many information events, free screenings, collective walks to promote physical activity as an important prevention measure for CKD. Thanks to interactive map present on the FIR website it is possible to find information on which initiatives are planned in the different regions and how to access them.

“One of the major obstacles to prevention and timely intervention is precisely the inadequate awareness that kidney diseases are frequent and that most of the time they do not cause symptoms, both among the public and non-nephrologist doctors – concludes Bianchi – It is necessary to provide more information on CKD and raise awareness of risk factors and the importance of early diagnosis. World Kidney Day is celebrated every year, globally, to raise awareness of the importance of the kidneys, our silent ‘allies’ throughout life.”


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