Reema Garcha (left) donated a kidney to her sister Binn Johal last year. Submitted photo

Reema Garcha (left) donated a kidney to her sister Binn Johal last year. Submitted photo

EDITORIAL: B.C. waitlist for kidney transplant exceeds 600

Have you considered becoming a living donor?

One in 10 British Columbians has kidney disease.

That’s a staggering number. Take a look around you, at your place of work; in your classroom. Chances are, someone you know may have kidney disease. There’s also a good chance they don’t know it yet, because the symptoms are so slight in the early stages.

Therein lies one of the biggest hurdles of dealing with the disease.

The key to preventing or delaying a life on dialysis, or a kidney transplant, is early detection. So, what are the keys to early detection?

First, answer the following questions:

• Are you diabetic?

• Do you have high blood pressure?

• Do you have heart disease?

• Does your family have a history of kidney disease?

A “yes” answer to any of these questions sets you at a higher risk for kidney disease.

Testing is a simple procedure (a blood test and a urine test) that can be done along with your regularly scheduled check-up. Even if the aforementioned quiz produced all “no” answers, a medical test is always a good preventative measure. The alternative is unpleasant.

There are 622 British Columbians are on a waitlist for kidney transplant (as of Feb. 29, 2020). The median wait time for a kidney is 2.7 years. The median survival in B.C. is 48 months.

Sobering statistics, indeed.

The Kidney Foundation of Canada, BC & Yukon is on a mission to reduce those numbers, but in order to achieve that, more donors are needed.

The unique advantage people in need of a kidney have over others awaiting organ transplants is that people only need one kidney to survive; living donation is an option. Also, a living kidney transplant is the most successful of all transplant procedures.

These are only advantages to those with kidney disease if those with two healthy kidneys sign up for the living donation program.

For more information on the living donation program, go to kidney.ca

March is Kidney Month in Canada and the United States. Make a difference. You could be saving the life of someone sitting next to you.

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