Kidneys. Our body's filtration machines that we wouldn't have a thought for most days.
What people may be unaware of is that well functioning kidneys are absolutely necessary for a healthy life. Without them, we wouldn't last long.
Many Griffith residents are living with kidney failure either brought on by poor lifestyle choices, or genetic predispositions out of their control.
This World Kidney Day, Thursday March 11, Griffith local Thomas 'Mac' Guest shared his story of what it's like to live on kidney dialysis and we learn some ways to take better care of our kidney health.
Mr Guest is 94 years old and is somewhat of a kidney 'celebrity' as he holds the title of oldest person in Australia on dialysis.
He attends Griffith Renal Dialysis unit three days a week and has been having dialysis for 13 years due to a diagnosis of Polycystic Kidney Disease.
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Mr Guest described how "it really makes you sit up and think" when you are told your kidney function is decreasing. He had never given his kidneys much thought before then. Now he has over a decade's worth of knowledge about being a renal patient and how to take care of himself.
He talked about the shock and loneliness he felt when he first began this journey with kidney disease. However, he quickly learnt just how prevalent kidney disease is, and just how many others are going through the same experience.
Nursing unit manager at Griffith Renal Dialysis Raelene Leddin said she sees over 30 people in the Griffith area on weekly dialysis with a chronic kidney disease patient load at around 60.
'Prevention is much better than cure. Once a person damages their kidneys and ends up on dialysis, unless you get a transplant, dialysis is permanent'
"We basically take care of in-patient and out-patient chronic and acute renal failure in the area," Mrs Leddin said.
"Our patients range in age from 25 to 94 years of age.
"Patients have dialysis two to three days a week, from about four to five hours each session. Some are doing up to fifteen hours a week on dialysis."
Mrs Leddin explained that kidney tissue doesn't rejuvenate, so it's vitally important for people to be aware of their family background with kidney related issues and for them to stay on top of their health.
"Living a healthy lifestyle with exercise and diet and maintaining a normal blood pressure are important," she said.
"Actively treat your hypertension and diabetes. Even an annual blood test to check your renal function is helpful.
"Prevention is much better than cure. Once a person damages their kidneys and ends up on dialysis, unless you get a transplant, dialysis is permanent."
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