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Kidney diseases on the rise in Pakistan

09 March, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The incidence of chronic kidney disease is rising in Pakistan owing to late diagnosis and the rising trend of high blood pressure and diabetes.

This was the consensus of health experts while expressing their views at a seminar organised by the Shifa International Hospital (SIH) to mark "World Kidney Day" here on Thursday.

A large number of people from all walks of life attended the seminar. The SIH doctors also conducted free blood, sugar, hemoglobin, and urine tests of the participants on this occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, SIH Kidney Transplant Department Head Dr Saeed Akhtar said the best way to prevent kidney failure was early diagnosis of underlying disease and aggressive treatment. "However despite all the measures, some kidneys fail," he said. He said that the treatment of kidney failure was either hemodialysis or kidney transplant, whereas dialysis offered an excellent short-time cure. "Transplant is the option which gives the best chance of a good long term quality of life. One year patient survival on hemodialysis is 75 percent, and after transplant, it is 98 percent. For patients who do not have a living donor available, they can opt for deceased donor transplantation (cadaveric transplant)," he said.

Dr Akhtar highlighted that Islam gave permission for such transplant and all major Islamic bodies, including Islamic Ideological Council of Pakistan, had given their verdict in its favour.

He urged upon the masses to donate body organs after death as one deceased person could help nine people live a better life by donating different body organs. The results of cadaver transplant were very encouraging, he observed.

Consultant Nephrologist Khawaja Sayeed Ahmed said that toxic drugs and fake medicines had their own considerable share in kidney damage. He said many kidney diseases could be treated efficiently if diagnosed in time. "Otherwise, permanent kidney damage occurs that can prove fatal for the patient," he stated. He was of the view that blood pressure and diabetes must be controlled optimally to keep kidneys fit. Diet, nutrition and lifestyle should be healthy throughout the life even if diabetes or blood pressure was under control, he advised.

Dr Khawaja however advised that once a kidney was damaged, patients with blood pressure and diabetes should visit their doctor regularly. Consultant Nephrologist Dr Nayer Mahmud was of the view that many people knew nothing about kidney disease until it was too late. He expressed his regret that often because of lack of awareness on the side of physicians, diagnosis got delayed. "To keep your kidneys healthier for longer time, a very important step is to learn about the disease and also get your kidneys tested on periodic basis," he recommended.

Dr Nayer observed that the clues that could make people aware of kidney problems were general weakness, increasing paleness, aches and pain, vomiting, falling appetite, body swelling, breathing difficulties and blood in urine.


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