Vancouver – British Columbians are urged to assess their risk of kidney disease during the month of March, which is World Kidney Month.
About one in 20 British Columbians have some level of kidney disease, and most don’t even know about it.
The symptoms of kidney disease are not easily noticed when the disease is in its early stages, leaving many of the 200,000 people in B.C. with kidney disease to discover the truth only when their kidneys begin to fail. At that point, the only treatment options available are dialysis or kidney transplant.
Early diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease can significantly delay – and sometimes prevent – the onset of kidney failure and the need for dialysis or transplant.
Reducing the risk for developing kidney disease starts with knowing the risk
factors for the disease, which include:
- high blood pressure;
- heart disease;
- having a family history of kidney disease; and
- belonging to a high-risk ethnic group, such as Aboriginal, Pacific Islanders, Asian or African.
People in any of these categories are encouraged to talk to their doctor about their personal risk for developing kidney disease. Using simple blood and urine tests, a doctor can diagnose whether someone has kidney disease.
The BC Renal Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, has online resources to help British Columbians learn more about their risk for developing kidney disease, including an online kidney disease self assessment tool. These resources are available at www.kidneysmart.com.
Dr. Adeera Levin, executive director of the BC Renal Agency
“Becoming aware of the risk factors for kidney disease is something all British Columbians can do to help protect themselves from this disease. Improved awareness is key to detecting the disease early and getting the treatment and support people need to manage their disease and optimize their health.”