World Kidney Day 2023 – Kidney Health for All

Preparing for the unexpected, supporting the vulnerable!

The significant impact of disastrous events, be they local including earthquake, floods, war, extreme weather or global like the COVID-19 pandemic, affects the functioning and living conditions of the community as a whole, resulting in one or more of the following consequences: human, material, economic and environmental losses and impacts. Those affected by chronic disease, of which kidney patients represent more than 850 million people worldwide, are particularly affected by these disruptions, as the ability to access proper diagnostic services, treatments and care is greatly jeopardized.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, chronic lung diseases, and chronic kidney diseases (CKD), are known to be the leading causes of death and disabilities worldwide, significantly so in low- and middle-income countries. In the event of emergencies, this cohort of the community is among the most vulnerable in the population due to their ongoing requirements for consistently coordinated care – care, which is often lifelong, and involving complex ongoing treatment.

Therefore, preparation for unexpected events is incredibly important for kidney patients.

Here are some interesting facts about this vital organ – Kidney;

Kidneys measure around 12 cm in length about size of a computer mouse. They are shaped like beans. Each individual kidney weighs around 140 grams. The kidneys form only 0.5% of the body weight. A baby’s kidney is huge compared to the body weight. Even though it weighs less than 28 grams.

The new born have the kidney to body weight ratio is 3 times that of adults.

All the blood in the body goes through kidneys and is filtered every 30 minutes, which is about 50 times every day.

There are about 1.15 million nephrons (tiny filtering units) in the body. Stretched out from end to end, they are about 5 miles (8 kilometres) long.

After the age of 40, the number of functional nephrons present in each kidney start falling at a rate of 1% a year but this is partly compensated by nephrons having a tendency to enlarge before destruction.

Kidneys reabsorb and redistribute 99% of the blood volume throughout the body, leaving the 1% of the filtered blood to become urine. Therefore, kidneys have a higher blood flow compared to the brain and liver.

The largest kidney stone ever recorded was the size of a coconut. It weighed a whopping 2.5 pounds (1.1 kilograms).

The right kidney is usually smaller and placed lower in the body than the left kidney. The right kidney sits under the liver, the body’s largest internal organ, which explains why it’s smaller and placed lower in the body.

Even a single kidney can do the work of two, and 75% of one kidney can sustain life comfortably.

If a child is born without a kidney, the other one will grow and weigh the same as two kidneys put together.

In case of dehydration, kidneys compensate by stopping production of urine until hydration is restored and blood volume increases.

One can hold anywhere between 50 and 500 millilitres (1.7-17 ounces) of urine in bladder.

The yellow colour of urine is due to bilirubin which is a pigment formed as a result of about 1% of our blood getting destroyed every day.

Kidneys also activate vitamin D in your body – but only as a last resort. If the skin cells can’t receive vitamin D from the Sun, then liver takes over. And if liver can’t produce vitamin D, kidneys get the job done.

If the blood pressure in kidneys decreases, kidneys send out signals to the rest of the body resulting in the blood vessels getting constricted to increase the pressure ensuring that blood reaches every part of the body.

If the oxygen content of the blood falls, the kidneys can sense it creating a hormone which triggers increased production of red blood cells which are responsible for carrying oxygen.

Kidney disease can never be reversed. Its progression can only be slowed down.


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