Pharmacists across Derbyshire are today launching a public awareness campaign to educate and inform patients and carers about Acute Kidney Injury in the week which marks World Kidney Day.

Community Pharmacy Derbyshire has formed an alliance with the British Kidney Patient Association and is laying on special training sessions so Derbyshire’s pharmacists can advise carers and patients with kidney disease, particularly those at risk of Acute Kidney Injury. They are also paying for informative leaflets to be sent to more than 200 Derbyshire pharmacies to help with patient counselling.

Acute kidney injury affects one in five people admitted to hospital and can be more deadly than a heart attack.  The condition often has no early symptoms, so it can be difficult to spot.

Every year 60,000 people in the UK are treated for kidney failure and there are 40-45,000 premature deaths every year from chronic kidney disease.

Graham Archer, Chief Officer Community Pharmacy Derbyshire said: “Acute kidney injury is an insidious and life-threatening condition and community pharmacists are in a strong position to help those most at risk. We can develop understanding of the dangers and educate patients about what to do if they become acutely unwell.

“Pharmacists can also advise on the “Sick Day Guidance”, which could involve a temporary cessation of medicines where the risk of acute kidney injury is deemed to be high.”

Policy Director at British Kidney Patient Association, Fiona Loud, added: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Derbyshire’s pharmacists in raising awareness of both kidney disease and acute kidney injury.

“Education is the key to prevention and we hope that the educational workshops and information leaflets will go a great way towards better informing the pharmacists and in turn the people of Derbyshire about this very serious, yet little known about condition.”

Problems can arise rapidly through Acute Kidney Injury, often in someone who is already at risk; someone with pre-existing kidney disease; aged 65+; congestive heart failure; diabetes; or liver disease.

Triggers may include:

  • Sepsis or infections
  • Hypovolaemia (dehydration, bleeding)
  • Hypotension
  • Certain medicines (which can either damage the kidneys or impair renal function in some circumstances)

A possible sign of the injury is a low volume of urine being produced, although this is not always the case. However, someone with acute kidney injury can suddenly experience nausea and vomiting, confusion, low or high blood pressure, abdominal pain, slight backache or swelling.

World Kidney Day is on Thursday 10 March and the campaign will run from Monday 7 March.


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