MANILA, Philippines–First, there was the ice bucket challenge. Now, there’s a water drinking challenge, which health experts hope would go viral online to raise awareness to the dangers of a kidney disease.
To mark World Kidney Day (WKD) on March 12, the Philippine Society of Nephrology (PSN) is encouraging netizens to take up the challenge, which would require them to take their photos while drinking a glass of water and posting the pictures on Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms with the hashtags #worldkidneyday #WKD2015.
Dr. Mary Rose Bisquera, a member of the organizing committee of WKD, said the online campaign was similar to the ice bucket challenge, which helped raise awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis but involved no monetary contributions.
She said the water drinking challenge was aimed at highlighting the importance of taking preventive measures against chronic kidney disease, the 10th killer disease in the Philippines.
Importance of kidneys
“So we encourage you to mobilize your friends, colleagues and relatives, explain to them the importance of our kidneys and how to protect them. Take a picture of yourself drinking water and share it on social media,” Bisquera said at a health forum in Quezon City on Tuesday.
According to the 2008 national nutrition survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, roughly 6 million Filipinos are suffering from kidney damage due to diabetes, hypertension and other lifestyle-related diseases.
Based on the study, the nationwide prevalence of chronic kidney disease was at 9.4 percent in 2008, almost 3.6 times greater than the prevalence rate in 2003.
According to the Philippine Renal Registry of the Department of Health, there were 18,868 patients on dialysis treatment in 2012.
At least 12,122 new patients across the country were recorded to have started dialysis the same year and 342 patients underwent kidney transplantation.
Bisquera said the incidence of a chronic kidney disease was surging in the country as cases of hypertension and diabetes among Filipinos were also increasing. At least 25 percent of Filipino adults suffer from high blood pressure while roughly five percent have diabetes.
Both diseases, as well as cardiovascular diseases, are closely linked to a chronic kidney disease, which calls for a regular dialysis or a transplant.
Drink lots of water
Drinking a good amount of water every day, eating a balanced diet and adopting an active lifestyle are among the ways to protect the kidneys from injury or damage, according to Dr. Roberto Tanchanco, a board member of the PSN.
“Drinking enough water is a good way to help our kidneys do their work,” Tanchanco stressed.
“The kidney is a special filter that helps clean our blood,” he said. “If our body always lacks water, we give our kidneys a hard time to accomplish their work so a good amount of water every day is a good way to keep our kidneys healthy.”
While the advice of doctors is to drink eight glasses of water a day, the amount of water intake depends on the person’s height and weight.
“If you often feel thirsty, it is a signal given by the body that you need water. If your urine is darker, it also means you need to drink more water,” Tanchanco said.