MARCH 8, 2007 | Gov. Mike Beebe today proclaimed March 8, 2007, as World Kidney Day in a ceremony at the state Capitol as he thanked UAMS physician Sudhir V. Shah, M.D., for helping draw attention to kidney disease as a growing health crisis in Arkansas and around the globe.
Shah, a professor and director of the Division of Nephrology in the UAMS College of Medicine, helped found the annual day of attention to kidney health last year with the first-ever world Kidney Day, which is observed the second Thursday in March. March 8, 2007, also has been declared World Kidney Day by Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola in a separate proclamation.
World Kidney Day is an initiative of two global, non-profit organizations – the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF), of which Shah is president. The purpose of World Kidney Day is to raise awareness that kidney disease is common, harmful, and treatable. The theme for the 2007 World Kidney Day is, “Are Your Kidneys OK?”
Chronic kidney disease is common, affecting about 1 in 9 adults. In Arkansas, there are at least 200,000 adults with chronic kidney disease, many of whom are not aware they have the disease.
Chronic kidney disease not only progresses to end-stage renal disease, but these patients have a much greater risk of cardiovascular complications and premature death.
”Most people know that if you have high cholesterol, you are at increased risk for heart disease,” Shah said. “What most people do not know is that if you have kidney disease – even the mildest form – you are at increased risk for heart disease. Despite overwhelming data, this is not widely known, not only by the general public, but also by primary care physicians.”
Most people with chronic kidney disease are not diagnosed until long after the illness has developed, Shah said, so physicians advocate that patients at high risk be screened for kidney disease. These include:
• Patients with diabetes and hypertension – the two most common causes of chronic kidney disease
• Those with a family history of kidney disease
• Patients who have cardiovascular disease
Shah said that any time a routine annual physical exam is performed, it should be routine to check kidney function, which only requires two simple and inexpensive procedures: a urine test and a blood test.
Chronic kidney disease is treatable because strong evidence shows that early detection, altering lifestyle factors and aggressively controlling blood pressure not only can slow or halt progression of end-stage renal disease but can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,430 students and 715 medical residents. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with about 9,400 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $5 billion a year. For more information, visit www.uams.edu.