Celebrating World Kidney Day

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Kidney Kids Scotland will celebrate World Kidney Day next month – and has invited the rest of the country to join in!

The charity has challenged everybody to be part of the global initiative to highlight kidney health and raise awareness by sporting Kidney Kids official yellow and blue colours on March 10 and organising a fundraiser for a good cause.

Since launching in Stenhousemuir, Stirlingshire, in 2000, the tireless efforts of Kidney Kids Scotland has raised over £1.5 million to help fund treatment for youngsters living with renal and urology issues.

It has played a key role developing the paediatric renal network across the country – providing NHS hospitals with equipment and the money to fill essential posts – and talking and listening to consultants and medical and welfare experts to identify where the charity can best provide help.

Thanks to the generosity of the public, Kidney Kids Scotland has made a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of patients and their families.

The theme for this year’s World Kidney Day campaign is ‘Kidney Disease and Children: Act early to prevent it!’

Kidney diseases affect millions of people across the world. Many children may be at risk from an early age, with the figure predicted to rise by over 17 per cent in the next decade.

Education, early detection and promoting a healthy lifestyle are key to tackling the issue.

If detected early and managed appropriately, the deterioration in kidney function can be slowed or even stopped – yet awareness of kidney disease is still very low and many people underestimate the vital role their kidneys play.

There is no cure for chronic kidney disease (CKD) but treatment can slow or halt its progression and prevent other serious conditions developing.

The main treatments are medication and proper diet but for those who reach ‘Stage 5’, also known as End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), long term dialysis or kidney transplantation are the only options.

A transplant is considered the best treatment for many people with CKD because quality of life and survival are often better than in people who use dialysis. However, there is a shortage of organs available for donation.

Many people who are candidates for a transplant continue with dialysis until one becomes available.

The majority of individuals with early stages of CKD go undiagnosed. Most have no symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage, by which time they could have lost 90 per cent of their kidney function.

On World Kidney Day organisers are asking everyone to consider key questions including:

– Do you have high blood pressure?

– Are you overweight?

– Is there a family history of kidney disease?

– Do you smoke?

If your answer is ‘yes’ to one or more, discuss it with your GP.

Kidney diseases are silent killers which will largely impact on your quality of life but key preventitive measures have been defined and proven successful.

For the last 15 years Kidney Kids Scotland has worked closely with management and staff at hospitals around the country including the former Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill, now known as the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow. Part of the £800 million Southern General Hospital campus in Govan, it remains the only facility in Scotland where children can receive dialysis.

Children travel up to four times a week to have waste and excess fluids removed from their blood.

The disruption and stress it causes them and their parents simply cannot be overstated but the support provided by Kidney Kids Scotland as they continue on their difficult journey has been invaluable.

Kevin Hill, director of woman and children’s services at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “We have benefitted greatly from the vital support KKS has made over the years.

“It understands children and young people living with chronic kidney disease face a lot of challenges to enjoy a happy and healthy childhood.

“Conventional treatment options such as haemodialysis in a hospital unit offers huge health gains but can be hard on children who want to be at school with their friends instead of in hospital.”

In 2015 Kidney Kids Scotland’s target was to raise money to buy more portable haemodialysis machines that allow children to be treated at home. They cost £14,000 each.

This year they hope communities around Scotland will get involved on March 10 and help that target to be achieved.

Interested in becoming a Kidney Kids volunteer? Contact the charity at Merrow House in Stenhousemuir on 01324 555843 or email office@kidneykids.org.uk.