Women's kidney health front and centre on World Kidney Day

By Tanya Cronin
March 8, 2018 - 5:05pm

KAMLOOPS — It's known as the 'silent killer' - Chronic Kidney Disease is considered the fastest growing health concern in our province, with thousands of renal patients on dialysis. March 8 marks World Kidney Day, a time set aside to raise global awareness about the importance of our kidneys and the vital role they play in our lives. At Northills Mall a group of TRU Nursing Students held a symposium. Women are at higher risk, and are being urged to take action to prevent kidney disease, for themselves and their loved ones.

"I was born with kidney disease which I did not know until I was 29."

Born with one diseased kidney, working at just 75 per cent, for Dorothy Drinnan, a transplant has meant a new chance at life.

"When you're hooked up to a machine all the time, your life can be restricted and the biggest thing I found is it made travel a lot easier, without carrying 20 boxes of dialysis fluid with you," says Dorothy Drinnan, Kidney Transplant Recipient.

Five years ago, Dorothy received a kidney. But for four-and-a-half years she endured a gruelling overnight dialysis routine, reliant on a machine to keep her alive.  

"I was on Paritoneal which is a fluid exchange rather than a Hemo which is a blood exchange, so it involves cleaning your body out with the machine and getting rid of all the toxins and stuff."

Thousands of people in the Kamloops area live with kidney disease. As part of World Kidney Day, streams of people stopped by Northills Mall, to test their kidney health, at a screening clinic put on by 3rd year nursing students at TRU.

"One in ten Canadians have kidney disease, and a lot of them don't know it because it's kind of a silent killer which is unfortunate, and it's one of the top 10 causes of death in Canada," says Alex Bryenton, 3rd Year TRU Nursing Student.

From blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index, nurses are checking for any indicators of kidney disease, important for people of all ages.

"We have blood pressure readings and blood sugar readings happening in the back because diabetes and high blood pressure are two of the main risk factors for kidney disease," says Bryenton.

Chronic Kidney Disease is incurable, it's often undetectable in its early stages. Last year in BC, 225 people received a new kidney, and right now 400 are still waiting for a transplant. Women are more at risk than men, and this year is putting that in the spotlight.

"We're really trying to spread the word and advocate for more research done with women, because women have different issues, we have babies, get pregnant, we go through menopause, it's just different," says Dr. Floriann Fehr, TRU Nursing Instructor.

Survivors like Dorothy say early screening and prevention is key. She's grateful for another opportunity at a normal life, and encourages others to pay close attention to their health. 

City of Kamloops to pay extra $1.1 million in 2019 with employer health tax