Annually, a global event is held to help drive awareness of kidney problems and how we can all help to protect these vital organs. This year the theme is ‘Kidney disease and obesity’.
Our kidneys are organs like no other in the body, acting as a filtration system for our blood helping us to eliminate toxins as well as playing a crucial role in other functions such as controlling blood pressure.
It’s a myth that kidney disease only effects elderly people, and whilst it is true that some forms of kidney problems are more common as we age, kidney disease can strike at any age.
So how does obesity link to kidney disease?
It is a sad fact that obesity levels are on the rise across the world, in all age ranges. Carrying extra weight places increased pressure on so many different bodily systems – including our kidneys. Patients who are obese are at an increased risk of diabetes and high blood pressure – both of which can, in turn, increase the risk of developing kidney troubles. It is estimated that by 2025, 18% of all men and 21% of all women worldwide will be obese.
What is more worrying to us as doctors is the rate of childhood obesity and the alarming frequency we see it in our clinics. Children are developing problems, normally associated with adults, at a younger and younger age. Radical action is needed to ensure that we are setting up our future generations for the healthiest possible lives.
One of our main passions in our work is promoting the preventability of disease. We know that there are many things in life, and in health, that we have no control over, but if we can help to reduce the factors that increase our risk of illness we have at least taken a step in the right direction.
Obesity is largely preventable. It isn’t easy, but it is preventable.
One of the key themes of this World Kidney Day is to promote the achievability and affordability of healthy choices in helping us to tackle the global obesity epidemic. As practicing GP’s we often hear from patients that it costs more to eat healthily, and there is some truth in that. When you can get a burger in minutes for less than a couple of pounds it is too easy to see why we as a global community battle our weight.
However being informed about healthy choices, and armed with a little forward planning, it is possible to eat well without breaking the bank. Celebrity chefs including the likes of Jamie Oliver often provide the breakdown of a cost per head per meal – and these fall well below the cost of a take away.
Quick Kidney Facts (www.worldkidneyday.co.uk)
- Our kidneys will filter around 180 litres of blood every day. That’s the same amount as just under 55 cans of an average sized canned drink.
- Kidney failure can be fatal without dialysis or transplant
- 64,000 people in the UK are currently being treated for kidney failure
- 3,300 kidney transplants take place in the UK each year but over 5,200 are still waiting
- Every year in the UK there are an estimated 40,000 premature deaths related to chronic kidney disease
Why not take a few moments to read more about world kidney day on their website?