NOTE: The following is an op-ed from Susan MacNeil, manager, Nova Scotia Renal Program.
How many times in our lives have we heard the expression, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?
Probably more times than we can count on both hands.
But it’s true.
As we mark World Kidney Day on March 10, I want to remind Nova Scotians that kidney disease isn’t always something that happens to adults. In fact, with one in ten people affected by kidney disease, many of them are children.
This year, World Kidney Day will focus on children and prevention. It is important to be aware, encourage early detection and promote a healthy lifestyle starting at birth continuing through to old age, to prevent kidney disease.
Hereditary conditions are the leading cause of chronic kidney disease in children. Some are born with kidney disease, while others develop it at a young age. In many cases when the disease is detected in an adult, it could have been prevented, delayed or managed while in childhood.
You can help prevent kidney disease by:
— keeping fit to reduce your chance of developing obesity, which can lead to diabetes and high blood pressure
— cutting back on salt and choosing foods that are good for your heart. Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products instead
— limiting your alcohol intake and quitting smoking
And don’t forget to get your blood pressure checked regularly. Keeping your kidneys healthy means acting early to prevent kidney disease.
The Nova Scotia Renal Program is committed to raising awareness of kidney disease. For more information go to www.nsrp.gov.ns.ca .