The Kidney Foundation of Canada, BC & Yukon Branch is sending out the message that anyone could lose up to 80 per cent of kidney function and not even know it.
Kidney disease is potentially life threatening and has no cure.
It is also much more common than people think.
One in 10 Canadians has kidney disease and this number is on the rise.
In 2019, Kidney disease was the 10th leading cause of death in Canada.
Kidney disease occurs when kidney damage is present or there is decreased kidney function for a period of three months or more. When this occurs, kidneys can longer do their important work.
This is a situation that Wayde Hayley knows all too well.
In 2011 his kidneys failed due to IgA nephropathy, a disease that causes damage to the tiny filters inside the kidneys but in the early stages often has no symptoms.
Hayley, who also serves as VP for the Kidney Foundation, BC and Yukon Branch, Board of Directors, said he was shocked to learn he had kidney disease as no one in his family had kidney disease.
“I functioned for the better part of three years on peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis and I tried to live a normal life during this time, taking good care of myself both physically and mentally, but kidney disease takes its toll,” Hayley said.
Hayley suffered with very high blood pressure, which led to a significant health event and left him facing some of the darkest hours of his life. In 2014, he received a kidney transplant from his cousin for which he is forever grateful.
Nephrologist Dr. Mike Bevilacqua said any people living with kidney disease show no symptoms until the disease is very advanced, so it’s really important to know the risks and to talk to your doctor about being screened for kidney disease if you fall into one of the risk categories.
“The earlier someone knows they have compromised kidneys, the higher the chance of preventing or delaying the onset of kidney failure and the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant,” Bevilacqua explained.
The leading causes of kidney disease include diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. In addition, those with a family history of kidney disease or individuals from certain ethnic backgrounds, including Asian, South Asian, African, and Aboriginal are also at a greater risk for kidney disease.
There are things you can do to help protect your kidneys like maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes managing blood pressure and blood sugar levels,” Bevilacqua added.
The Kidney Foundation is encouraging the public talk to their doctor if they are at risk for kidney disease.
More information and resources can be found at kidney.ca.
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