Ignore kidney health to your peril, warns experts

WKD 1203N.B. Nair

New Delhi (ISJ) ? One in every ten people in India is suffering from kidney-related diseases. Yet more than half of the patients won?t even know of their illness until their kidney is damaged by more than 60%. According to a study by All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, approximately 1.5 lakh new kidney patients are added to the existing burden every year, out of which only a few are able to get some form of treatment.

"Chronic Kidney Diseases or CKD at the moment, based on whatever studies available, is 10% of the adult population. This include, a broad degree of damage to the kidney, which is persisting for the rest of the life. This is many time more than stroke, many times more than heart attacks and almost equal in magnitude as diabetes in the country. In terms of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), after hypertension or high blood pressure, this is the second commonest cause of NCDs,? said Dr. Sanjay Kumar Agarwal, Head of Nephrology Department at AIIMS.

According to Dr. Agarwal, the burden of kidney patients in India is around five lakhs, whereas only 6,000 or 1.2% could get transplant ? 200-250 from cadaver sources, and 30,000 could go for dialysis. The rest are left to live with it and die," rued Dr. Agarwal.

"Lack of facilities and unequal distribution in the availability of nephrology services with poor access to rural population make the situation still worse," added Dr. George Kurian, Professor and Head of Nephrology, at Kochi-based Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a progressive loss in kidney function over a period of months or years. Between 1990 and 2012, there has been an increase of 82% of people affected by CKD. CKD can develop at any age and various conditions can lead to it. In some countries, kidney disease is one of the greatest causes of death. In Mexico, CKD was ranked the 3rd most common cause of death in 2010. Kidney diseases are common, harmful and often treatable.

There are 600 million people that are losing out on proper care because of lack of access or availability of kidney care. 112 countries in the world have no resources for dialysis and transplant. Kidney diseases are silent killers, which will largely affect your quality of life. There are however several easy ways to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease.

Eight Golden Rules

1. Keep fit and active - Keeping fit helps to reduce your blood pressure and therefore reduces the risk of Chronic Kidney Disease.

2. Keep regular control of your blood sugar level - Keeping fit helps to reduce your blood pressure and therefore reduces the risk of Chronic Kidney Disease.

3. Monitor your blood pressure - Although many people may be aware that high blood pressure can lead to a stroke or heart attack, few know that it is also the most common cause of kidney damage.

4. Eat healthy and keep your weight in check - This can help prevent diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with Chronic Kidney Disease. Reduce your salt intake. The recommended sodium intake is 5-6 grams of salt per day (around a teaspoon). In order to reduce your salt intake, try and limit the amount of processed and restaurant food and do not add salt to food.

5. Maintain a healthy fluid intake - Consuming plenty of fluid helps the kidneys clear sodium, urea and toxins from the body which, in turn, results in a ?significantly lower risk? of developing chronic kidney disease, according to researchers in Australia and Canada. The findings, the researchers said, do not advocate ?aggressive fluid loading?, which can cause side effects, but they do provide evidence that moderately increased water intake, around two litres daily, may reduce the risk of decline in kidney function.

6. Do not smoke - Smoking slows the flow of blood to the kidneys. When less blood reaches the kidneys, it impairs their ability to function properly. Smoking also increases the risk of kidney cancer by about 50 percent.

7. Do not take over-the-counter pills on a regular basis - Common drugs such non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen are known to cause kidney damage and disease if taken regularly.

8. Get your kidney function checked if you have one or more of the ?high risk? factors

? you have diabetes

? you have hypertension

? you are obese

? one of your parents or other family members suffers from kidney disease

? you are of African, Asian, or Aboriginal origin

Sources: worldkidneyday.org / PIB

Image courtesy: worldkidneyday.org


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