Drink A Glass Of Water For World Kidney Day

Today, March 13, 2014, take a moment out to celebrate something that usually is not celebrated: our kidneys. According to the World Kidney Day website, March 13 is World Kidney Day, which is a day 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.” This year’s event focuses on Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

World Kidney Day has six objectives:

Raise awareness about our “amazing kidneys.” Highlight that diabetes and high blood pressure are key risk factors for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).
Encourage systematic screening of all patients with diabetes and hypertension for CKD.
Encourage preventive behaviors.
Educate all medical professionals about their key role in detecting and reducing the risk of CKD, particularly in high-risk populations.
Stress the important role of local and national health authorities in controlling the CKD epidemic. Health authorities worldwide will have to deal with high and escalating costs if no action is taken to treat the growing number of people with CKD. On World Kidney Day all governments are encouraged to take action and invest in further kidney screening.
Encourage Transplantation as a best-outcome option for kidney failure, and the act of organ donation as a life-saving initiative.

This year’s focus on CKD promotes and supports all of these objectives.

But what exactly do the kidneys do? Well, as World Kidney Day explains, the main job of this organ is to remove toxins and excess water from the body. That is right; any toxins that go into the body filter through the kidneys and out of them. This means that kidneys help with other bodily functions like blood pressure, red blood cell production, and healthy bones, not to mention helping us feel good because they remove toxins that would otherwise harm us. Additionally, kidneys make urine and control the body’s chemical balance. This is an essential organ to a healthy body.

The Mayo Clinic defines CKD as “the gradual loss of kidney function.” This is also sometimes called chronic kidney failure. Symptoms of this terrible disease include the following:

Loss of appetite
Fatigue and weakness
Sleep problems
Changes in urine output
Decreased mental sharpness
Muscle twitches and cramps
Swelling of feet and ankles
Persistent itching
Chest pain, if fluid builds up around the lining of the heart
Shortness of breath, if fluid builds up in the lungs
High blood pressure (hypertension) that’s difficult to control

Clearly these are pretty nonspecific symptoms, but if any combination of these occurs, one should definitely get to a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Because the kidneys adapt and compensate for damage, it is incredibly important to be highly aware of kidney health. Moreover, the function of the kidneys in removal of toxins and excess fluid doubly prove how important it is to be aware of kidney health.

Because of the importance of the kidneys and thus of kidney health, on March 13 celebrate World Kidney Health day in many ways. First, start by drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning. As the website says, water may protect the kidneys but not necessarily cure CKD. Nonetheless, drinking a glass of water helps to flush out the system thereby helping the kidneys to do their job. The benefits of water to the kidneys are obvious.

To further show solidarity, take a picture drinking a glass of water and tweet it to @worldkidneyday with the message: “I take care of my kidneys, I drink a #glassofwater. Do you think about your kidneys? #isupportwkd.” You can also share the picture on Facebook or email it to agnese@worldkidneyday.org.

Spread the word about World Kidney Day and CKD. The more exposure we have to the importance of healthy kidneys, the more likely we all are to have better kidney health.

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About Rayshell Clapper

Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer’s group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.
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