NHS Tayside urges us to take care of our kidneys

GP Dr Scott Eason explains the 'Medicine Sick Day Rules' card to patient Scott Alexander.
GP Dr Scott Eason explains the 'Medicine Sick Day Rules' card to patient Scott Alexander.

NHS Tayside is supporting Acute Kidney Injury Week (March 13-17) to help raise awareness of acute kidney injury and how to prevent it.

The public are being asked to think about their kidneys when they are experiencing sickness or diarrhoea and to learn what they can do to protect them.

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is damage to the kidneys that causes them to stop working properly. It can range from minor loss of kidney function to complete kidney failure.

The kidneys provide a wide range of vital functions including removing wastes and water from blood, balancing chemicals in your body, releasing hormones, helping to control blood pressure and helping to produce red blood cells.

To help raise awareness ‘Medicines Sick Day Rules’ cards will be given out by GPs, community pharmacists, district nurses and NHS Tayside Out-Of-Hours teams which explain what people can do to look after their kidneys.

These were developed in partnership between NHS Tayside’s Renal Services and the Pharmacy Department with the aim of reducing acute kidney injury.

The cards carry important information on what you can do to protect your kidneys if you are suffering from sickness or diarrhoea whilst taking certain medications. By following the simple advice on the cards it is hoped that less people will experience acute kidney injury and their long-term health will be improved.

AKI is not the result of a physical blow to the kidneys, as the name may suggest, but normally happens as a complication of another illness. AKI is associated with worse survival and increased hospital stays, yet up to a third of cases are thought to be preventable.

Consultant Renal Physician Dr Samira Bell said, “These handy cards carry vital information to help people avoid acute kidney injury.

“The simple but effective advice of stopping certain medications when you are experiencing sickness or diarrhoea can help people to protect themselves from what can become a life threatening condition.

“I would urge people to follow the advice on these cards if they are given them.”