Kidney disease a family issue

The affects of kidney disease has had a profound effect on Viv Kahi, a 73-year-old from the Hokianga, with four of her sisters having passed away from kidney disease and another sister having dialysis treatment.

This week is World Kidney Week and Viv knows full well the effects of kidney disease.

"My youngest sister Alice was the first one of us to have kidney dialysis and she passed away in the 1970s," Viv says.

"It broke my mum's heart and it makes me sad that kidney disease has come down through our relatives."

Some kidney diseases are inherited and some causes of kidney stone disease have a known genetic link. Some people are aware that they have diabetes or high blood pressure, but many don't know that these conditions may also put members of their family at risk of developing kidney disease.

"I understand better now that we inherit the kind of bodies we have and that our genes can sometimes dictate our health without us knowing," Viv said.

"I have never been a smoker or a drinker so hopefully that has been in my favour given the hereditary kidney disease links in my whanau."

Thursday is World Kidney Day and this year's theme is to highlight the risk that people with a family history of kidney disease have of getting kidney disease themselves.

The good news is that there are things people can do to protect their kidneys if the diagnosis is made early.


- Northern Advocate

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