Since 2006, each second Thursday of every March, has been established as World Kidney Day. This year, that day is on 9 March.
This initiative belongs to the International Society of Nephrology and the International Association of Nephrology Foundations, with the goal to raise the awareness of the global public on the importance of kidney health and Chronic Kidney Disease.
Today, the Chronic Kidney Disease is the 8th cause of death globally, and is expected to be the 5th in the 2040s. It is a “silent disease”, which does not produce any symptoms even if a person loses the 90% of their kidney functionality. In 2023, more than 850 million people worldwide live with Kidney Disease, but unfortunately the vast majority do not know it.
Meanwhile, over than two million people are on renal replacement therapy, mainly with hemodialysis, or have undergone a kidney transplant. According to data of the Hellenic Nephrological Society, in Greece almost 10% of the total population suffers from Chronic Kidney Disease, which is equivalent to 1 million people. Of these, 100,000 develop quite serious problems, while 13,000 undergo dialysis.
The kidneys are vital organs for human health, as each day they filter about 200 liters of blood to remove about 2 liters of waste and excess water. When the kidneys gradually lose their functional capacity, then we can talk about Chronic Kidney Disease.
One of the aims of this year’s World Kidney Day is to prevent the development of Acute Kidney Disease. It is a disease that appears suddenly after an attack on the kidneys from various causes, with the possibility of reversing it, if diagnosed and treated in time. Otherwise, it is a significant cause of increased likelihood of future Chronic Kidney Disease. Over 13 million people worldwide may suffer from Acute Kidney Disease, with the largest proportion of them, over 85%, occurring in underdeveloped countries with a high rate of deaths.
In Greece, the periodic extrarenal hemodialysis with an artificial kidney in chronic uremic patients was applied from the beginning of the 60s, in a limited number of units. In the years that followed, the organization of Artificial Kidney Units with a full program of chronic periodical hemodialysis became imperative, and the West Athens Clinic created its own in 1998, with the aim to create a state-of-the-art facility that would provide quality service for every single patient.