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What is kidney disease?

Last Updated Nov 2, 2018 at 9:41 pm EDT

One in 10 Canadians have kidney disease and millions more are at risk, according to the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

Kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that extract waste from blood, balance body fluids, form urine, and help in other important bodily functions, like the creation of hemoglobin, a key element in blood.

Dr. Bajinder Reen, a Brampton-based nephrologist says that while genetics are a major factor in developing the disease, other variables can play even bigger roles.

“The more important causes are diabetes and high blood pressure. It is the job of the client and the family physician to monitor these patients at least yearly with a simple urine test. If they find protein and blood they need to be further investigated,” Reen tells CityNews.

“Good dietary management and good blood pressure controls and avoiding the drugs that can cause kidney disease – over the counter drugs such as Advil and anti-inflammatories and herbal medications, which we think are great but aren’t. Every drug, whether it is a physician-prescribed drug or herbalist-prescribed drug or over the counter, all have some sort of impact on the kidney. It is imperative that the person with diabetes or hypertension or a hereditary disease or any other disease such as inflammation of the kidney, they should ask their family doctor ‘is it safe for my kidney?'”

Facts on Kidney Disease and Organ Donation

  • Over 11,500 Ontarians are receiving dialysis as renal replacement therapy.
  • 25 per cent of those patients do the dialysis themselves, at home. The remaining 75 per cent go to hospitals or specific clinics several times a week to receive therapy.
  • As of February 2018, there are 1,178 people waiting for a kidney or kidney and pancreas transplant in Ontario.
  • Of the 714 kidney-pancreas transplants performed in Ontario last year, 30 per cent were from living donors.
  • The average wait time to receive a kidney in Ontario is 4 years.
  • In 2017, 4,333 Canadians were on a waiting list for a transplant. Of those, 78 per cent were waiting for a kidney.
  • Every three days somebody in Ontario dies while waiting on an organ transplant list, according to beadonor.ca
  • Signing up to donate an organ takes three minutes and can result in saving more than eight lives.

You can sign up to be a donor at beadonor.ca or join Cristina Howorun’s campaign at this link.

Sources: beadonor.ca; Kidney Foundation of Canada