Raise awareness about kidney health in Europe
The ERA has launched the Strong Kidneys initiative in cooperation with the National Societies of Nephrology, with this campaign we want to reach as many people as possible across Europe. The main goal is to raise awareness about the importance of kidneys and how to protect them.
The Strong Kidneys website promotes the activities organized in the frame of the campaign and presents basic information about kidney health and disease for the public and medical professionals. A chapter is included providing our freely available information materials and an additional section is providing information materials from other initiatives, offering a platform for all existing kidney initiatives.
A letter from the President
Read the special invite written by the ERA President and Head of Nephrology at Würzburg University Hospital
The kidneys are often forgotten by the general public, overshadowed by their neighbours, the heart and lungs. Yet the kidneys, paired bean-shaped organs, nestled just below the ribs in the upper rear abdominal cavity, deserve at least as much attention. They may be small and shy but the kidneys have several essential roles within our bodies: cleaning the blood and filtering waste products into the urine; regulating blood pressure; maintaining salt and water balance; playing a vital role in bone homeostasis, and contributing to the production of red blood cells. Phew!
One in ten adults within Europe have reduced kidney function and yet many will be unaware of this.
Why? Because it is usually only once a significant amount of kidney function is lost that symptoms arise. However, even a minor reduction in kidney function can ’silently’ increase a person’s risk of premature cardiovascular disease and death. Additionally, if detected early, there are strategies, which can be employed to slow or halt the progression of kidney disease. However, the loss of kidney function cannot be reversed. It is estimated that around 70 million Europeans suffer from progressive kidney impairment and this may culminate in the need for kidney replacement therapy with dialysis or transplantation.
It is therefore essential that the general public is educated about the importance of kidneys and how to protect them. This is why the ERA has launched the ‘Kidney Health Awareness’ Days. With the ‘Strong Kidneys for Europe’ initiative, we want to reach as many people as possible across Europe. The main goal is to raise awareness about the kidneys and their essential role within our bodies.
We would like to encourage the organisation of new activities but also to support all existing efforts. Via this platform, we want to allow already existing national initiatives to present their messages and to network across Europe.
Let’s show the general public
– how fascinating and valuable our kidneys are
– how healthy eating, exercise, mindfulness and regular check-ups with your doctor can help to optimise kidney function as well as general health
– that diabetes and high blood pressure in particular can damage the kidneys, particularly if not monitored or managed adequately, and so regular review of those affected is essential.
General practitioners and specialists have a key role in monitoring and risk reduction. We would encourage regular patient reviews and monitoring so that chronic kidney disease can be detected at an early stage thus allowing appropriate treatments to be instigated. Consequently, the progression of kidney disease can be slowed or even halted and the risk of associated complications reduced.
Together for strong kidneys
Together, we can reduce both the prevalence and incidence of chronic kidney disease in our countries.
The European Kidney Health Awareness Days 2022 took place from April 17, 2022, to May 22, 2022. We thank all societies for their commitment to Kidney Health and for the activities organized this year!
Join forces and cooperate with kidney foundations, major hospitals and centres, patient organizations, companies and/or the government. Educate the public about the importance of the kidneys and the need to protect them during events or via activities on radio, television and online, via brochures in your local language or videos. Cooperate with physicians, host webinars or seminars, and inform people about screening options and treatments. A healthy population will thank you.
Ideas for activities
The Strong Kidneys campaign is supported by the National Societies of Nephrology from several countries across Europe and the Mediterranean Area.
The awareness initiative goes along with the EKHA action plan.