Lecture and lunch to highlight the day

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Most healthy folks don’t spend much time thinking about their kidneys unless something goes wrong, not considering the tremendous role our kidneys play in keeping us well. The West Virginia University School of Medicine will celebrate World Kidney Day with an educational lecture and a first come, first served lunch at noon Thursday, March 14, in room 1905 of the WVU Health Sciences Center.

“World Kidney Day has been observed on the second Thursday in March each year since 2006,” Alimirza Onder, M.D., WVU chief of pediatric nephrology, said. “The purpose is to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health and reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems.”

Though most people know these bean-shaped organs help us excrete wastes they filter from the blood, the kidneys play a huge role in regulating blood pressure. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a very common problem that is often poorly managed.

Dr. Onder’s presentation, “Nocturnal Hypertension: Sleeping with the Enemy,” will explain how new, wearable blood pressure monitors that can be worn 24 hours a day give a clearer picture of overall health. An overnight drop in blood pressure is normal and desirable. If the monitor shows that blood pressure fails to decrease as the wearer sleeps, it’s a signal that the person is at risk of damage to major organs fed by the circulatory system, such as the kidneys, heart, brain and eyes.

“Nocturnal hypertension is a new concept that we had no clue about prior to the wide use of 24 hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring,” Onder explained. “Long-term elevation in blood pressure leads to these problems. With adequate treatment for hypertension, we can prevent or delay end-organ damage.”
 
As another major risk factor for chronic kidney disease, diabetes is a pressing public health issue in the United States, particularly in West Virginia. In addition to raising awareness about these vital organs, World Kidney Day organizers aim to encourage preventative behaviors and systematic screening of all patients with diabetes and hypertension for chronic kidney disease.