Children, just like adults, are at risk for kidney disease and so the theme for World Kidney Day on March 10, 2016 was Kidney Disease & Children. Act Early to Prevent It!
Kidney problems in children are most commonly due to genetic abnormalities or other problems that occur in the womb which prevent the kidneys from developing properly. Sickle Cell Disease is an example of a genetic abnormality that can cause kidney failure in children.
Children may be born with normal kidneys, but later develop acute kidney injury (also called acute kidney failure) as a result of bacterial infection, injury, shock, accidental poisoning, or drug overdose.
Did you know that unhealthy lifestyle habits established as early as childhood and adolescence can contribute to diseases later in life, such as hypertension and diabetes? These two conditions are the leading causes of kidney failure in adults.
St Nicholas Hospital, Lagos, marked the World Kidney Day with health fairs at Holy Cross Catholic Elementary School and Kings College, Lagos. Students received a short but fun interactive tutorial on the anatomy and functions of the kidney, as well as the behaviors that put them at risk for kidney disease. Proper and regular hand washing with soap and water to prevent infections; healthy nutrition; and physical activity; were encouraged as effective preventive measures against kidney disease.
The students were also screened for kidney disease with urine and blood tests. Urine was tested for signs of kidney malfunction, infection and diabetes. The students’ blood was tested for evidence of Sickle Cell Disease or Sickle Cell Trait.
Dr. Toju Chike-Obi, host of The HealthZone television program, gave a kidney pop quiz to some of the Kings College students, which they passed with flying colors. Dr. Oyeyemi, pediatrician at St. Nicholas Hospital, and one of the event coordinators, was particularly happy with the event turnout. Students with abnormal kidney screening test results were examined by him and other St. Nicholas Hospital doctors on site before being referred to their primary health care doctor for follow up.
All children from 6 months old should have a blood genotype test for Sickle Cell Disease. Children from 3 years old should receive urine testing once a year as part of a routine well child annual check up. It is a simple and painless screening that allows doctors to pick up early signs of kidney problems in your child.