TORONTO, Ontario – The African Caribbean Kidney Association (ACKA), a chapter of the Kidney Foundation of Canada, in partnership with the Nigerian Canadian Association, Toronto Chapter, is hosting an educational seminar and health screening clinic, this Saturday.
This free screening clinic is being provided to encourage the early detection of Chronic Kidney Disease by identifying individuals at risk.
Research studies have confirmed that one in ten Canadians is affected by Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Each day, an average of 15 people are told that their kidneys have failed. The number of Canadians being treated for kidney failure has more than doubled in the past two decades.
CKD has become a growing global public health concern not only in Canada, but throughout the world. In the United Kingdom, 38,000 adults are receiving renal replacement therapy (dialysis) because their kidneys have stopped working.
An additional 140,000 people are under the care of a Nephrologist (kidney specialist) because of varying stages of kidney disease.
In the United States, approximately 20 million people have been diagnosed with kidney disease and another 20 million are at risk for kidney disease, but are not aware of their condition. This number does not include the 33,000 that are receiving dialysis treatment because their kidneys are no longer able to rid the body of waste.
What is chronic kidney disease, and what causes this disease? Chronic kidney disease develops when the kidneys lose most of their ability to remove waste, regulate fluid, and balance necessary chemicals in the body.
Although there are many causes of chronic kidney disease, the two leading causes that lead to the kidneys failing are diabetes and hypertension or as it is commonly known, high blood pressure.
Kidney disease is more prevalent in certain ethnic groups. People of African descent are included in the high risk ethnic groups who have a disproportionate burden of chronic kidney disease.
People of African descent are also disproportionately more likely to develop diabetes and high blood pressure, further increasing their risk of kidney disease.
Studies are limited for African Caribbean peoples in Canada, however, based on United States statistics of African Americans, 40% of African Americans have high blood pressure, and over 20% have diabetes.
These two conditions not only result in 32% of the nation’s cases of kidney disease (African Americans comprise only 13% of the population), but they progress at a faster rate leading to a number of complications including stroke, blindness, amputation and death.
It is important for people in our community to understand not just the warning signs of kidney disease, but also what risk factors predispose you to the condition.
The clinic portion consists of registered nurses doing comprehensive testing for kidney health in checking blood pressure, sugar level, body mass index, urine test, and creatinine blood test which helps determine how well your kidneys function.
The day also includes a general kidney health education session conducted by a kidney specialist doctor, dietitian, pharmacist, nurses, and hear directly from a kidney dialysis patient who will talk about her experience with CKD.
The overall goal of the clinic and educational session is to encourage African Caribbean individuals to identify their risk for CKD and to support lifestyle modifications to prevent and maintain kidney health.
The education and health screening clinic is being held on Saturday, March 29, between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., at Mount Zion Ministries, 105 – 107 Kenhar Drive in North York. For more information on the clinic call Caroll Rattray at (416) 540-7656.