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In the 2040s, Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), a “silent” disease that produces no symptoms even when someone has lost up to 90% of kidney function, is expected to become the 5th leading cause of death, from 8th today of.

According to data from the International Committee for World Kidney Day 2023 (March 9), more than 850 million people worldwide live with Kidney Disease, but unfortunately the vast majority do not know it. At the same time, over two million people in the world are on renal replacement therapy, mainly with hemodialysis, or have undergone a kidney transplant.

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Furthermore, according to data from the Hellenic Nephrological Society (HNE), in Greece approximately 10% of the adult population suffers from Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), that is, 1,000,000 Greeks have kidney problems. Of these, 10% (100,000 people) develop quite serious problems, while 13,000 undergo dialysis.

a above data were presented during a press conference, on the occasion of today’s World Kidney Day 2023, the message of which this year is: “Kidney Health for All: Preparing for the unexpected, supporting the vulnerable”. With this message, the global community is invited to take action, to adopt the required prevention and treatment policies, so that all patients with CKD have access to appropriate care and treatment. During recent catastrophic events (pandemics, wars, earthquakes), it turned out that CKD patients often did not have this option.

“Chronic Kidney Disease is a condition in which there is a gradual loss of kidney function, usually affecting both kidneys. In the initial stage, its symptoms are not noticed. It is possible for someone to lose up to 90% of their kidney function, without showing any symptoms, and end up on extrarenal dialysis, i.e. hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, or even a kidney transplant. Chronic Kidney Disease is a progressive disease, its early diagnosis is critical, as the appropriate treatment can slow down its progression”, noted the president of the Hellenic Nephrology Society, director of the Nephrology Department of the Hippocrate General Hospital of Athens, Dimitrios Petras.

At the same time, he pointed out that the early diagnosis of Kidney Disease can be done with a blood test and with a general urine test and added that especially those who have high blood sugar, hypertension, are overweight, have a family history and come from areas, should be checked for kidney function. where there are high rates of the disease, but also the healthy, annually, after the age of 50-55 years.

The professor of Nephrology AUTH, director of the 2nd Nephrology Clinic of AHEPA Vassilios K. Liakopoulos noted that there are older and newer drugs, antidiabetics and antihypertensives that can delay the progression of kidney disease. He also noted that hemodialysis, to which the CKD patient can be sent, apart from affecting the quality of life, also has a very high cost. In fact, he characteristically mentioned that the annual cost of blood purification in the USA is equal to the debt of Greece.

“The message of World Kidney Day focuses on the need to ensure the safe, sustainable and systematic provision of health services for those who require lifelong complex treatments, such as people living with Kidney Disease. This call is addressed to health policy makers, governments, industry, health care providers, people living with chronic kidney disease, and society as a whole,” added Mr. Liakopoulos.

Informative actions in the context of World Kidney Day

In the context of World Kidney Day 2023, in collaboration with the Hellenic Society of Nephrology and the Astellas company, a public awareness and information campaign is being carried out on the importance of monitoring kidney function and maintaining good kidney function.

The message of the campaign “They don’t cry and they don’t show symptoms. That’s why we shouldn’t forget them” highlights the importance of prevention and regular check-ups of kidney health as in its early stages, most patients do not show any symptoms. The communication vehicle of the campaign is a spot entitled “Silence of the Kidneys”, which is shown as a social message on television and social media.

At the same time, informational actions are taking place from March 8-10, 2023, in two central parts of Thessaloniki: in Aristotelous Square, with the installation of an art installation and the distribution of printed information material, and in the White Tower, where there is a relevant stand. Thematic posters have also been placed in the nephrology units of hospitals nationwide.