Every year, March 12 is observed as “World Kidney Day (WKD)”worldwide. Held on the second Thursday in March every year, the global campaign aims to raise awareness about the importance of our kidneys to overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and associated health problems worldwide. First observed in the year 2006 as a joint initiative of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF), the one-day campaign aims to highlight the risk factors that can lead to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). CKD (also called chronic kidney failure or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) describes the gradual loss of kidney function. The term “chronic kidney disease” means lasting damage to the kidneys that can get worse over time. Generally, kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood, which are then excreted in your urine. At an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes can build up in your body. The condition may not become apparent until your kidney function is significantly impaired. If it remains uncontrolled, the condition progresses to end-stage kidney disease, where life cannot be sustained without undergoing serious treatment modalities. Treatment for kidney disease consists of measures that focus on slowing the progression of kidney damage, usually by controlling the underlying causes. Nephrologists and other physician specialists treating this condition can rely on outsourced medical billing and coding companies to meet their billing and coding requirements.

According to reports (2019 statistics), currently around 850 million people are affected by different types of kidney disorders. The global burden of CKD is increasing with reports suggesting about 2.4 million deaths worldwide per year. CKD is projected to become the fifth most common cause of years of life lost globally by 2040. It is estimated that 37 million American adults have CKD and millions of others are at increased risk. The 2020 WKD observance aims to make people aware of how important kidneys are and what happens when they go wrong. It also aims to educate the public about the management of CKD and to encourage people to consider kidney donation and transplants as an effective way to help those with kidney failure.

Chronic kidney disease occurs when a disease or condition impairs kidney function, causing kidney damage. Diseases and conditions that cause CKD include – high blood pressure, polycystic kidney disease, Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, Glomerulonephritis, Interstitial nephritis, prolonged obstruction of the urinary tract and recurrent kidney infection. In most cases, the signs and symptoms of kidney diseases develop over time if kidney damage progresses slowly. Common symptoms include – loss of appetite, fatigue and weakness, vomiting and nausea, swelling of feet and ankles, changes in urination, sleep issues, muscle twitches and cramps, and high blood pressure (hypertension) that’s difficult to control. Abnormal kidney structure, high blood pressure and diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases are some of the top factors that can potentially increase the risk factors associated with the condition.

Diagnosis of this condition may begin with a detailed analysis of patient medical history. Physicians will conduct a detailed review of several medical conditions like blood pressure or diabetes and ask questions about urinary habits, usage of medications affecting kidney functions and whether patients have any family members who have kidney disease. Physicians may also perform a physical examination to check for signs of problems with your heart or blood vessels, and conduct a neurological exam. Other additional tests like blood tests, urine tests, imaging tests (for e.g., ultrasound to assess your kidneys’ structure and size) and biopsy (to remove a sample of kidney tissue for testing). Treatment options may vary, depending on the causes and may generally work to slow or control the related causes. Top treatment modalities include – medications (to low or control cholesterol, high blood pressure, treat anemia, relieve swelling and protect bones) and a lower protein diet (to minimize waste products in your blood). If the kidney disease has become chronic and reached an end-stage, a dialysis or a kidney transplant may be recommended.

Nephrologists and other physicians dealing with CKD patients must document the symptoms, screening tests and other treatment procedures offered using the right medical codes. Medical billing services provided by experienced billing and coding companies can help in timely claim submissions for accurate reimbursement. ICD-10 codes for CKD include –

N18 – Chronic kidney disease (CKD)

  • N18.1 – Chronic kidney disease, stage 1
  • N18.2 – Chronic kidney disease, stage 2 (mild)
  • N18.3 – Chronic kidney disease, stage 3 (moderate)
  • N18.4 – Chronic kidney disease, stage 4 (severe)
  • N18.5 – Chronic kidney disease, stage 5
  • N18.6 – End stage renal disease
  • N18.9 – Chronic kidney disease, unspecified

The 2020 theme for the one-day campaign is – “Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere – from Prevention to Detection and Equitable Access to Care”. This theme aims to raise awareness about the increasing burden of kidney diseases worldwide and to strive for kidney health for everyone, everywhere. It also calls for universal health coverage for prevention and early treatment of kidney disease. Specifically, the 2020 campaign highlights the importance of preventive interventions to avert the onset and progression of kidney disease. Primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of kidney diseases will be emphasized.

As part of the one-day campaign, kidney health groups, educators, medical professionals, and policy-makers would organize outreach drives, conferences, workshops and other related events to bring attention to the importance of kidney health in maintaining a happy and fulfilling lifestyle. Events like fairs, festivals, flash mobs, marathons and public walks will be organized and promoted via social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). People can share information about these events through these platforms by using the theme hash tag and/or #worldkidneyday.

Join the WKD celebration on March 12. Spread awareness about chronic kidney disease and encourage people to prevent and detect it early.