Students educate others on kidney health, disease

You go to the doctor one day thinking you have high blood pressure. The doctor finds out you do have high blood pressure, and then says you have something called Chronic Kidney Disease — and you’ve had it for a long time.

About 37 million Americans are currently living with kidney disease and most of them don’t even know it. The symptoms often don’t show up until a person has had the disease for a long time.

That’s why ULM’s chapter of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association has the Chronic Kidney Disease Initiative, formed by the CDC in 2006. They promote kidney health and raise awareness of kidney disease.

This month is National Kidney Month, so the SNPhA is hosting events to educate others on kidney health. According to Tiona Harris, there are over 460,000 people living with CKD in Louisiana.

“It is critical that attention be brought to this often overlooked, but increasingly common disease,” Harris said. 

World Kidney Day is this Thursday, March 11. The theme is different every year. This year it’s “Living Well With Kidney Disease.”

According to Reggie Good, a member of the CKD Initiative, if people proactively get tested for the disease and don’t wait around for symptoms to show up, it’s possible to preserve and even regain function. He said it’s important to take preventative measures. 

“Be mindful of how you live and what you eat and drink,” Good said. “Exercise and a healthy diet can prevent so many health problems.”

One of the events planned by the SNPhA is called “Kidneys in the Classroom.” Members will talk to a 4th grade class over Zoom and teach them about the basic function of the kidneys and kidney disease.

Damascus Jacobs, vice chairperson of the initiative, said that it’s important for everyone to learn these things.

Jacobs said that once people learn about kidney health and disease, “They can start taking strides to work against the statistics and inform others. It all starts with education.”

The SNPhA will also be hosting a Zumba class on World Kidney Day at 6 p.m. to promote the importance of exercise for both people with and without kidney disease.