Editorial: March is National Kidney Month

Make a difference - a living donation

One in 10 British Columbians has kidney disease. That’s a staggering number. Take a look around you, at your place of work; in your classroom. Chances are, someone you know may have kidney disease. There’s also a good chance they don’t know it yet, because the symptoms are so slight in the early stages.

Therein lies one of the biggest hurdles of dealing with the disease.

The key to preventing or delaying a life on dialysis, or a kidney transplant, is early detection. So, what are the keys to early detection?

First, answer the following questions:

• Are you diabetic?

• Do you have high blood pressure?

• Do you have heart disease?

• Does your family have a history of kidney disease?

A “yes” answer to any of these questions sets you at a higher risk for kidney disease.

Testing is a simple procedure (a blood test and a urine test)  that can be done along with your regularly scheduled check-up.

Even if the aforementioned quiz produced all “no” answers, a medical test is always a good preventative measure. The alternative is unpleasant.

Currently, more than 350 British Columbians are on a wait list for kidney transplant.

The median wait time for a kidney is 4.8 years. More than 50 per cent of dialysis patients do not survive past four years.

Sobering statistics, indeed.

The Kidney Foundation of Canada, BC & Yukon is on a mission to increase the number of kidney transplants by 50 per cent over the next five years. In order to achieve that goal, there is a need for more donors.

The unique advantage people in need of a kidney have over others awaiting organ transplants is that people only need one kidney to survive; living donation is an option. Also, A living kidney transplant is the most successful of all transplant procedures.

These are only advantages to those with kidney disease if those with two healthy kidneys sign up for the living donation program.

For more information on the living donation program, go to kidney.ca/living-donation

March is National Kidney Month. Make a difference. You could be saving the life of someone sitting next to you.

 

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