Who We Help
“This cruel, long-term medical condition has drastic and far-reaching effects for patients and their families.”
Kidney disease is a major health issue in the UK. Nationally, around 180,000 people have been diagnosed with kidney disease and a further 37,000 currently have end-stage renal failure and are receiving life-saving treatments.
According to the UK Renal Registry this number is rising, and by 2020 as many as 60,000 patients may be in this position. In total, as many as a quarter of a million people in Britain may have some form of kidney disease without realising it and are completely unaware of their risk. Kidney disease caused by diabetes is becoming the leading cause of kidney failure worldwide.
Chronic kidney failure is a serious, long-term medical condition with drastic and far-reaching effects for patients and their families. When a kidney ceases to work, in order to stay alive, the sufferer must undergo dialysis. This can take place at home, by using a haemodialysis machine every other day, or by employing the technique of peritoneal dialysis on a daily basis. Alternatively, the patient has to travel to hospital on three days each week to be attached to a haemodialysis machine.
There is a lot more to cope with, not least severe dietary and fluid intake restrictions. Furthermore, dialysis causes a whole new range of side-effects:
- Bouts of extreme tiredness
- Skin irritation
- Excessive bone regeneration and bone pain
The enforced lifestyle is extremely disruptive, affecting family relationships and sometimes causing other personal problems, including depression and unemployment. Worse still, the patients’ kidney disease complications continue to progress and the MRI (Manchester Royal Infirmary) deals with over 500 dialysis patients each week.
In financial terms, the cost to the country is huge – each patient on dialysis costs the NHS around £35,000 per year and Department of Health figures estimate that treating people for kidney failure costs around £1.2 billion, which represents about 2% of the total NHS budget. This high cost, coupled with the rising numbers requiring treatment and the scarcity of available organs for transplantation makes research into alternative treatments such as growing new kidneys from stem cells, not just desirable, but essential.
Kidneys for Life aims to raise funds to ensure that research can continue to further help that kidneys work well for the lifetime of the patient, and our research plan for the future will follow this aim. We also aim to improve direct patient amenities within the Renal Units.