Save your kidney - Wishes on WORLD KIDNEY DAY to everyone

Today is 'WORLD KIDNEY DAY'. On this special day for me as a nephrologist, I would like to stress the importance of preventing kidney damage. Its been a year since I returned to India and started practice in Bangalore. In my various talks to different sections of the society over the past year I have always harped about the ' PREVENT, PREMPT, and PROTECT' ideology.

We gain the maximum by taking measures to PREVENT any disaster. In the world of 'KIDNEYS' our three main villains of today are - HYPERTENSION (High Blood Pressure), DIABETES, and OBESITY. The other important risk factors for kidney disease are SMOKING and EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL INTAKE. If you can, please do not become slaves of nicotine and alcohol; by eating healthy, controlling your weight, and exercising regularly, you can reduce the chances of developing the three main problems to a large extent.

However we can't change our genes and some of us do get diabetes and hypertension. If you are diagnosed with any of the above I urge you to take steps to get it under control and see your doctor regularly for followup at least every 3 months. Just taking medication for diabetes or BP is not what is important - IS IT UNDER CONTROL??? is what matters. Uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension is a recipe for lots of medical problems in future including kidney failure. So PREVENT kidney problems by ensuring appropriate treatment of your diabetes and high blood pressure.

If in case you have been diagnosed with a degree of kidney damage, kindly don't panic. Lots can be done to 'PROTECT' your kidneys. Consult a nephrologist for proper assessment and follow his/ her advice to slow down the progression of your kidney disease. You will be able to to postpone or even escape the need for starting dialysis!!!

My friends who are on dialysis need not be depressed. We are here to help you have a better quality of life. Transplant is the best option for anyone whose kidneys have failed completely. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a transplant due to various barriers. Dialysis is now more widely available in India and you should be able to find a dialysis centre closer home. Adhere to your doctors advice and with a bit of luck you will be able to achieve your goals.

Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) is an under-utilised modality of dialysis in India and suits many people well. Patients on PD can get on with their lives with out having to travel long distances on dialysis days and sleep after dialysis for prolonged periods due to tiredness. PD is more gentle dialysis and is better for the heart as well.

Due to strict legal requirements, we are unable to use anybody outside of the immediate family members (Parents, Siblings, Children and Spouse) as donors although there might be enough of them! Hence we need to explore various other options to maximise the number of patients getting transplants by resorting to ABO incompatible transplant, Swap transplant, and most importantly Cadeveric kidney transplant. The outcomes are excellent in each of them.

With these thoughts I send my warm wishes to you and your kidneys on 'WORLD KIDNEY DAY'.