Patient and Health Leaders Remind Us to Get CheCKD for National Kidney Month

Chronic Kidney Disease, or CKD, is one of the leading causes of death in the Philippines. The National Kidney Transplant Institute (NKTI) has said that one Filipino develops chronic renal failure every hour. That is estimated to be at least 2.3 million Filipinos currently diagnosed with CKD. Other recent projections show that 1 in 10 Filipinos will develop this deadly disease. What’s even more alarming is that few symptoms appear during its early stages, and people only realize that they have CKD when the condition has advanced.

In the aim to spread awareness about CKD, patient organizations and medical societies came together to celebrate National Kidney Month by helping Filipinos detect the early symptoms of CKD and educating them on prevention with the event, It Starts with U: Get CheCKD.

Held at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati City on June 29, 2024, and supported by Boehringer Ingelheim (Philippines), Inc., experts and partner organizations attended the event, including Rey Abacan Jr., the president and founder of Dialysis PH; Marimel Lamsin, the internal vice president of the Kidney Transplant Association of the Philippines, Inc. (KITAP); Karen Alparce-Villanueva, the President of the Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations (PAPO); and Dr. Rose Marie Rosete-Liquete, the Executive Director of National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI).

Experts shared the prevalence and dangers of CKD, and how Filipinos can adopt simple yet effective measures to protect themselves. “CKD is one of the most common chronic illnesses in the Philippines and part of its danger is the difficulty in early detection since its symptoms don’t manifest until it’s too late. However, this condition can be easily mitigated by regular testing and adapting a few lifestyle changes,” said Dr. Maaliddin B. Biruar, a renowned nephrologist in the country and the key expert of the talk.

“Early detection and regular medical consultations will help prevent the progression of CKD in our patients, ensuring better quality of life and productivity. By addressing the risk factors of CKD, such as hypertension and diabetes mellitus, we can also reduce the socioeconomic burden of treating end-stage CKD,” added Dr. Liquete.

Boehringer Ingelheim rolls out It Starts with U: Get CheCKD, a kidney health awareness effort that aims to encourage Filipinos to get screened for Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD. In photo: participants at the Health CheCKD zone undergo a health consult. Those found to be at risk for CKD were given a 2-step CKD Screening.

The event was also an opportunity for Boehringer to launch their new disease awareness website – It Starts with You – a web page containing data and information on CKD that patients and the public can access.

“Accessible tools and education are essential in combating CKD. With tools like this website, we can empower Filipinos with the knowledge and understanding for detecting CKD early and managing it effectively. Early detection through accessible testing can significantly improve outcomes and enhance the quality of life for those affected by this silent but serious condition,” said Dr. Greta Cortez, Head of Medicine for Human Pharma, Boehringer Ingelheim Philippines.

Throughout the day, families enjoyed educational and entertaining activities at different zones where they checked for CKD and learned the importance of adopting healthy habits to prevent the disease.

Participants are getting fit and active at the It Starts With U: Get CheCKD Movement CheCKD Zone. Regular exercise reduces blood pressure which is vital to maintaining kidney health. 

Event goers enjoyed the kidney-shaped game room called Check Your Choices. Participants went down different paths with each room challenging their health and lifestyle choices. The game was a fun way to teach Filipinos how intentional habits can build a healthier life.

At Check Your Choices, participants were given an opportunity to take a closer look at the impact of lifestyle choices on kidney health. Based on the 8 Golden Rules of Kidney Care, the interactive game room highlights simple lifestyle changes that can help build a healthier life.

At the Movement CheCKD Zone, they learned how a healthy lifestyle is vital for keeping the kidneys healthy. Families joined a fun Zumba session to start or maintain their active lifestyle. They also learned that a healthy diet plays an important role in overall kidney health. At the Nutrition CheCKD Zone, visitors were treated to delicious and kidney-friendly food.

They also had the opportunity to have one-on-one consultations with doctors at the Health CheCKD Zone. The zone had health and lifestyle stations where participants had their vitals like blood pressure, height, weight, and heart rate checked. Visitors who were identified as at risk for CKD were referred to the screening booth. These regular health checks are crucial in preventing CKD.

The first 250 participants who completed their event passport were given healthy banana chips as a token. It Starts with U: Get CheCKD marked a record turnout, with hundreds of guests who enjoyed the day’s activities.

It Starts with U: Get CheCKD featured an interactive game room called Check Your Choices which challenged visitors to learn about kidney-friendly lifestyle choices. The Check Your Choices game room featured 8 rooms created around the 8 Golden Rules of Kidney Health. In photo: a visitor chooses between two stress relievers: chill with a couple of beers or take time alone and walk it out? To learn more about kidney health, log on to itstartswithYOU.com.ph.

“We are happy to see that more Filipinos are taking a proactive step towards taking care of their kidneys. We are committed to improving the lives of Filipinos with interconnected cardiovascular, renal, and metabolic disease which CKD is a part of. The best way to make lasting change is by educating our communities,  healthcare providers, patients, and their families,” concluded Dr. Cortez.

Monitor your kidney health and visit your healthcare provider regularly. For more information, please visit ItStartsWithYou.com.ph.