World Kidney Day (WKD) is an annual global awareness and education event taking place today. The 2018 theme is "Kidney Disease and Women's Health".
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a progressive loss in kidney function over a period of months or years. Each of our kidneys has around a million tiny filters, called nephrons. If these nephrons become damaged, they stop working. For a time healthy nephrons can take on the extra work. But if the damage continues, more and more nephrons shut down. After a certain point the nephrons that are left cannot filter our blood well enough to maintain good health.
When kidney function falls below a certain point, it's called kidney failure. This affects our whole body and can make us feel very ill. Untreated kidney failure can disrupt our quality of life and be life-threatening.
We can, however, take steps to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease:
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