World Kidney Day will be celebrated globally on Thursday, March 9. This year's theme is "Kidney Health for All - Preparing for the unexpected, supporting the vulnerable."
Worldwide, 850 million people are affected by chronic kidney disease and more than 2 million people receive dialysis or are living with a kidney transplant. In the United States, about one in seven adults has kidney disease. People with kidney disease are among the most vulnerable populations in an emergency because of their ongoing need for consistently coordinated care, which is often lifelong and involves complex ongoing treatment.
Recognizing the challenges faced by kidney patients and caregivers, the Kidney Foundation of Western New York is sharing emergency preparedness tips:
Those with chronic health conditions should prepare an emergency kit that includes food, water, medical supplies, and medical records. Check items every six months to ensure medications have not expired, that food is still fresh, and batteries are working.
People who rely on dialysis should stock up on food items for the 3-Day Emergency Kidney Diet. This diet can reduce the buildup of fluids and toxins within the blood when dialysis treatment is not available.
Dialysis recipients, transplant recipients and people with diabetes should wear a medical ID bracelet or pendant that indicates medical conditions and any allergies.
People receiving in-center dialysis should make sure that the dialysis clinic has current address, phone number and emergency contact information.
People on home dialysis should inform their local power company. This will make their service a priority if there is a power outage.
“The whole of society, including policymakers, health care services, governments, industry, as well as people living with kidney disease and their carers, must be prepared for unexpected events to avoid any disruption in access to diagnosis, treatment, and care,” the International Society of Nephrology noted in announcing this year’s World Kidney Day theme.
The Kidney Foundation of Western New York joins the International Society of Nephrology and World Kidney Alliance in calling for improved care and preparation through the following actions:
Policymakers need to adopt integrated health strategies that prioritize prevention, early detection, and management of non-communicable diseases, including kidney disease.
Health care services should provide equitable and proper access to care for chronic disease patients in times of emergency.
Governments should include emergency preparedness plans in the management and detection of non-communicable diseases and prioritize the prevention of these conditions.
The Kidney Foundation of Western New York and local partners will be working to increase awareness about kidney health throughout the month of March.
Buffalo City Hall, local landmarks and the Peace Bridge will be illuminated in yellow and blue for kidney health on the evening of March 9. Niagara Falls will be lit up in yellow and blue beginning at 10 p.m.
The Kidney Foundation of Western New York thanks the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, the Niagara Falls Illumination Board, the Home of the Dome and Buffalo Landmark Illumination Team (LIT) and other community partners for helping to raise awareness about kidney health.