Kidney disease major public health issue: doctors

Overcoming reservations about Covid-19 vaccine is important as the viral infection results in kidney damage in 7% to 15% of patients, said a panel of doctors at Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre here on Wednesday.

Marking World Kidney Day, which falls on March 11, the doctors told reporters that CKD (chronic kidney disease) was emerging as a major public health problem in the country.

K. Sampathkumar, Senior Consultant & HOD – Nephrology, said kidney failure was a silent killer and when the damages were severe, they could not be cured. Hence, it was important to undergo regular check-ups and control food and lifestyle to delay or halt the progress of kidney diseases. The diagnosis could be done by urine protein, blood urea and creatinine tests.

He said people with diabetes and hypertension must check kidney health as about 30% of them were most likely to develop kidney disease in the long run.

He suggested that people take the vaccine dosage at the earliest, especially those who above 45 years with comorbidities. Preventive measures were simple lifestyle modifications, which also included stress management and good sleep.

Talking about prevalence of kidney stones, R. Ravichandran, Senior Consultant & HOD – Urology, said kidney stones had become a common lifestyle disease. In India, 12% of the population was estimated to develop urinary stones in their lifetime out of whom about 50% might end up with some form of kidney failure.

Explaining what a kidney stone was and its treatment, he said too much waste in too little urine could result in formation of kidney stones. The stones could affect any part of the urinary tract, from kidney to bladder.

To prevent formation of kidney stones, one must avoid high-salt diet, excessive intake of caffeine, sugary and aerated drinks, chocolates and nuts and animal protein. Drinking plenty of water, and eating fruits and vegetables were important. Kidney stones could be detected with urine test, blood test, X-ray and/or CT scan. The treatment could include drinking plenty of water to pass a kidney stone. But depending on the criticality of the situation, one might need to undergo surgery.

Andrew Deepak Rajiv, Consultant-Nephrology, said the success rate of surgical and nonsurgical treatments of many kidney diseases, including transplantation, had increased to over 90%. Donors had a slightly higher risk of developing blood pressure, but the emotional satisfaction that came from saving a life was incomparable.

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