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Vidant Health celebrates World Kidney Day, offers free screening

March 12, 2015 by Amy Holcombe

GREENVILLE- Today, Vidant Health recognizes World Kidney Day, the most widely-celebrated event focused on kidney health across the globe. With ten percent of the population worldwide having some form of kidney damage, there is a long road ahead to raise awareness about the dangers of kidney disease.

This evening the light tower at the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital at Vidant Medical Center will change color from blue to lime green in recognition of World Kidney Day. This is a both a symbolic gesture and a conversation starter to raise awareness about the risks, dangers and burden of kidney disease.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), which is predicted to increase by 17 percent over the next decade, is now recognized by World Health Organization and other groups as a global public health issue. The trend is specifically true in North Carolina as the number of people diagnosed with kidney disease has continued to increase since 2010. 

“The rate of chronic kidney disease in eastern North Carolina is higher than in much of the state,” said Dr. Cynthia Christiano, chief of nephrology at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, who specializes in treating kidney disease. She added that minority populations, including African-Americans, “are known to suffer from higher rates of diabetes and high blood pressure which are both leading causes for CKD. These populations are therefore at higher risk of developing severe renal disease and ultimately kidney failure.”

Kidney disease also affects children, and is prevalent in eastern North Carolina. In pediatric cases the causes of end stage renal disease are different than in adults. “Congenital renal anomalies are the leading cause of kidney disease in children,” said Dr. Guillermo Hidalgo, associate professor and section head for pediatric nephrology at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. He explained that other causes can also include infection, nephrotic syndrome, systemic diseases, trauma, and urine blockage or reflux.

Octivius Council, of Clarkton in Bladen County, was born premature with kidney disease and has needed extensive care since birth. Now 11, Octivius has a new kidney and is improving every day. Though he still needs frequent care at the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital, Octivius is on the road to healthier and normal life. His story is unique, but the procedures and struggles represent what many pediatric nephrology patients face on a daily basis. Changing the light tower in his and their honor is something that can be done to show them admiration for their strength and a way to support their endurance through this tough battle. 

The aim of celebrating World Kidney Day is to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.

As part of World Kidney Day recognition, Vidant Health is offering a free kidney screening, giving people the opportunity to learn more about their health and follow up for additional care if needed.

The event will take place from 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Joy Soup Kitchen at 700 Albemarle Ave., Greenville. Those interested in the screening may make an appointment by calling Chesna McNeil at (252) 847-4621, or walk in on the day of the screening. Co-sponsors are Vidant Medical Center and East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine.
 
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