It’s Kidney Awareness Week

From 2 to 6 September 2017, South Africa marks its calendars for Kidney Awareness Week. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) has been estimated to affect as much as 15 per cent of the South African population. According to the National Kidney Foundation of South Africa, it also represents a growing healthcare problem with some 20 000 new patients requiring diagnosis and treatment every year.

What is Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic Kidney Disease is a dangerous medical condition characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time, which if left untreated can then lead to Chronic Renal Failure (CRF). Once you’ve reached end-stage chronic renal failure you have two options – dialysis for the rest of your life, or a kidney transplant.

Kidneys are among our most vital organs as they filter toxins and produce essential chemicals in our bodies. When the kidneys stop functioning properly our body becomes toxic and we cannot survive. The difficulty lies in the fact that Chronic Kidney Disease is an insidious disease – it often goes undetected as many people whose kidneys are dysfunctional do not develop symptoms until their kidneys are close to failing. Kidney failure in South African adults is mainly due to inherited Hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes  or HIV. Hypertension causes CKD and CKD causes hypertension. Simple tests can detect CKD: blood pressure, urine albumin and serum creatinine

Preventive behaviour through weight management, not smoking, keeping fit, watching sugar intake, monitoring blood pressure, and eating a healthy and varied diet can assist in preventing CKD.

Many people aren’t aware of the symptoms of kidney disease and early detection can circumvent the need for dialysis or a transplant if treated soon enough.

You’re encouraged to visit a doctor if:

  • you’re more tired than usual;
  • you have trouble sleeping;
  • you experience dry and itchy skin,
  • you feel the need to urinate more often;
  • you see blood or foam in your urine;
  • you have persistent puffiness around the eyes;
  • your ankles and feet are swollen;
  • your appetite is poor, or
  • your muscles are continuously cramping.

Facts about kidneys in everyday life

Our kidneys make 150 litres of urine a day, reabsorb 148 litres of useful substances, like protein, and excrete two litres of waste. They can be likened to a huge swimming pool filter which never needs backwashing, and will rarely need an overhaul if you look after your health!

Life Fourways Hospital Renal Dialysis Unit

Life Fourways Renal Dialysis, part of the Life Healthcare Group, is a specialised healthcare service dedicated to treating patients on acute and chronic renal dialysis. These specialised services assist patients in chronic renal failure requiring out-patient chronic services; or in acute renal failure in the acute hospital facility. The unit has 10 dialysis stations, where the nephrologist does daily ward rounds, and offers dialysis sessions Monday – Saturday. There is a dietician available in the unit. The unit also arranges transport for the patients to and from the unit.

For more information please contact:

Reena Moodley, Renal Technologist on 011 875 1810




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