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A global campaign aimed at raising awareness about kidney disease, World Kidney Day (WKD) is observed on the second Thursday in March every year. The 2021 campaign which falls on March 11 is conducted as a joint initiative of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF). The campaign aims to generate widespread awareness about the importance of our kidneys to overall health and aims to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and other associated health problems worldwide. Chronic kidney disease (CKD, also called chronic kidney failure or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) refers to the gradual loss of kidney function. If left untreated, CKD may reach an advanced stage, wherein dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes can build up in the body. In most cases, the condition may not become apparent until your kidney function is significantly impaired. Treatment for this condition focuses on measures that help control symptoms, reduce complications and slow the progression of the disease. Nephrologists and other specialists treating patients with CKD can partner with firms that outsource medical billing services to ensure accurate medical claims.

As per reports from the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), about 850 million people worldwide are estimated to be battling kidney disease. The 2021 global campaign is focused on raising awareness of issues relating to kidney health, and welcomes new supporters from all corners of the globe to participate in this fight against this deadly disease. Generally, CKD occurs when a disease or a condition impairs kidney function causing severe damage that tends to worsen over several months or years. These conditions include – Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, Glomerulonephritis, polycystic kidney disease, interstitial nephritis, prolonged obstruction of the urinary tract and recurrent kidney infections. In most cases, signs and symptoms associated with the condition develop and progress slowly and may include – vomiting and nausea, high blood pressure (hypertension that is difficult to control), loss of appetite, fatigue and weakness, swelling of feet and ankles, changes in urination, sleep issues and muscle cramps.

The campaign aims to highlight the key risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and abnormal kidney structure that tend to increase the risks associated with the condition. The one-day campaign offers a global platform to educate all medical professionals about their key role in detecting and reducing the risk of CKD (particularly in high risk populations). Diagnosis of this condition involves a detailed physical examination and analysis of patient medical history. Physicians will also evaluate symptoms and perform other additional tests like – blood tests, urine tests, imaging tests (such as ultrasound to assess the kidneys’ structure and size) and biopsy (to remove a sample of kidney tissue for testing). Treatment modalities for this condition may vary from person to person, depending on the specific causes and associated symptoms. Common treatment modalities include medications (to lower or control associated symptoms and other risk factors). On the other hand, for chronic or end-stage kidney disease, dialysis or a kidney transplant may be recommended. Nephrologists and other physicians treating 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

World Kidney Day was first initiated in the year 2006. Over the span of 15 years, the scope of the campaign widened with several healthcare organizations and kidney care communities offering concerted efforts to generate awareness about the risk factors, symptoms, preventive behaviors and how to live with a kidney disease. Every year, the campaign highlights a particular theme. The 2021 theme for this global campaign is – “Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere – Living Well with Kidney Disease.” The prime focus behind this theme is to enhance education and awareness about effective symptom-management to improve patients’ health-related quality of life and self-empowerment, with the ultimate goal of encouraging participation in meaningful life activities.

As part of the one-day campaign, kidney health groups, educators, medical professionals, and policy-makers across the globe organize many events that help drive attention to the importance of kidney health in maintaining a happy and fulfilling lifestyle. These include outreach drives, conferences, and other related events to bring attention to the importance of kidney health. People can volunteer to participate in events that support those receiving dialysis, attend seminars or screening at a local clinic, and learn about donor programs and consider becoming a donor for liver transplantation. People can share information about these events via social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram) by using the theme hash tag and/or #worldkidneyday.