Islamabad: Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is an important risk factor for kidney disease; 40% of the people with DM will develop kidney disease. As such, if you have diabetes, make sure to have your kidney health assessed at least once a year. Hypertension can also damage the kidneys, or in some cases, be a sign of kidney disease. Approximately 1 in 5 adults with high blood pressure may have chronic kidney disease, again making it necessary for all hypertensive persons to be screened for kidney disease. Warnings to this effect echoed Thursday at the Quaid-e-Azam International Hospital (QIH), where a seminar and a walk for a twin commemoration of World Kidney Day and World Dietitians Day was held. Since some kidney diseases may pass on from one generation to the next, the speakers urged those having a family history of kidney disease (such as polycystic kidneys) to ensure that all other members of their family are also screened through an ultrasound of the abdomen. Approximately 20 million Pakistanis, or 1 in 10 persons, suffer from some kind of kidney disease. Latest data released by the World Health Organization (WHO) places kidney disease deaths in Pakistan at over 29,000 per year. The theme for this year’s World Kidney Day (WKD) is ‘Kidney Health for Everyone, Everywhere,’ a goal that can be achieved by raising awareness about the high burden of kidney disease in the world and the need for prevention and early management. Speaking on the occasion the CEO and Founder of QIH Dr. Shaukat Bangash urged healthcare practitioners to widely disseminate the message that ‘Health is everything,’ and that kidneys and diet both play an important role in the quality of a person’s life. He called for adopting healthy lifestyles, consuming healthy diets, and engaging in exercise and tobacco control. “An important step in the prevention of kidney disease is to avoid using medicines without a doctor’s prescription as a large number of drugs are nephrotoxic and their indiscriminate use can lead to kidney disease,” Dr. Shaukat stated. Being aware of ones’ personal risk factors was also underlined. Ayeza Umar, the next speaker, termed diet as the foremost prerequisite for healthy living. “Being aware of the nutritional value of food, the harmful effects of various food elements, and the identification of healthy food etc., are all a huge science that keeps the human being healthy. As such, we owe a token of respect to those who spend their entire lives to learn about nutrition and distribute health through their wisdom, advice and practice,” she stated. Prof. Dr. S. Abdul Halim also underlined the need for regular monitoring of blood pressure, adoption of healthy eating and lifestyle, and regular interactions with physicians.