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Everyone grab your spleen and do a little dance! March is Kidney Month!

March 3, 2010

Wait. That title isn’t right! When is spleen month, anyway?! Okay, so maybe some crazy juice leaked into my coconut boychoy soup at lunchtime, but I thought I’d add some fun into this serious issue. Kidneys! We all need ’em, but we ain’t all got good ‘uns!

In medical school, a friend (K.N.) often made corny, original jokes for us. Here are a few of her gems that relate to the kidneys – if you don’t get them, don’t worry, it probably just means you are not a medical student suffering from sleep-deprived-delirium:

Why is the JGA (justoglomerular apparatus) always so tired?
Because it’s constantly renin around!

How do we know that the kidneys are the grumpiest organ?
They’re always getting pissed off!

What’s the kidney’s favourate chocolate bar? (actually, this one came from my pal, N.S. via K.N.)
Oh Henle’s.

What’s the kidney’s least favourite school subject?

Ha ha ok. Seriously, March 1st marks the start Kidney Month in Canada. Grab your nephrons and give them a hug! Per the Kidney Foundation, there are some things to think about this month. As you may know, an estimated 2 million Canadians have kidney disease, or are at risk of developing kidney failure, and:

  • Each day, an average of 14 Canadians learn that their kidneys have failed – if kidney failure is not treated, people can die within days or weeks
  • Of the 4,195 Canadians on the waiting list for a transplant as of December 31, 2007, 2,963 (71%) were waiting for a kidney
  • Of the 1,243 kidney transplants performed in 2007, almost 40% were from living donors
  • Kidney disease can strike anyone at any age
  • Common causes of chronic kidney disease include:
    • Diabetes mellitus
    • High blood pressure (hypertension)
    • Glomerulonephritis (nephritis)
    • Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease
    • Urinary tract obstruction
    • Reflux nephropathy
    • Drug- and medication-induced kidney problems

Despite these serious statistics, The Kidney Foundation of Canada has launched an uplifting campaign called ‘Kidney Stories of Hope’ to celebrate the inspiring experiences of Canadian patients and families’ dealing with kidney disease. The Kidney Stories of Hope campaign is in its second year and they’d love to have more uplifting entries for 2010.   If you’d like to learn more about the Kidney Foundation, check out their many online resources, starting with their website full of fantastic information, their YouTube channel, Twitter feed & their community of Facebook fans.

I’ll be writing about organ donation in the future. For right now, if you are putting off signing your donor card or telling your family about your wishes for whatever reason, now is a great time to rethink things!

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