Life Desk : World Kidney Day is observed every second Thursday of March to raise awareness about the importance of maintaining kidney health. A joint initiative of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF), this year’s World Kidney Day will be observed on the 13th of March. The kidneys are important organs that help to excrete excessive water and byproducts of body metabolism through the urine. Every person has two kidneys; the presence of even one functional kidney is enough to survive. Severe damage to both kidneys requires frequent dialysis, and sometimes a transplant. This year’s theme for World Kidney Day is: Chronic Kidney Disease and Aging. Though kidney damage can take place at any age, older people have a higher chance of suffering from it. Chronic kidney disease damages kidneys slowly and often severely impairs the independence of a person. It can be a consequence of uncontrolled health conditions like diabetes and hypertension. Some over-the-counter painkillers also contribute to kidney damage. The kidney damage may not be very obvious in the early stages and is often detected after enough damage has been done. Kidney damage can be detected by a simple blood test. Therefore, just as we do routine tests to check our blood sugars, it is also advisable to do a kidney function test regularly to test the health of the kidneys if you are at a high risk for kidney disease. Besides, a good control of high blood pressure and diabetes is necessary to prevent kidney damage. Lifestyle changes like smoking cessation, increase in physical activity and reduction in body weight contribute to the health of your kidneys. An adequate daily water intake also helps the kidneys. While we take care of our own kidneys, it is also important here to make a mention about kidney donation. A person can survive on one healthy kidney; therefore, kidney donation is possible while a person is living, though there are some legal considerations regarding the same. However, it is even more important to pledge our kidneys once we die, so that they continue to live in some other individual!