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Kidney diseases ‘cause 20,000 deaths annually in Pakistan’

By Our Correspondent:

KARACHI: The World Kidney Day was observed in the country, like elsewhere in the world, on March 12 to raise awareness on the importance of healthy kidneys. The theme of this year’s Day was “Kidney health for everyone everywhere — from prevention to detection and equitable access to care”.

The World Health Organisation estimates over 850 million people worldwide have kidney diseases. Chronic kidney disease causes at least 2.4 million deaths every year, while in Pakistan such patients numbered about 20 million.

Speaking at an awareness event organised by the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), the medical experts highlighted the importance of kidneys to overall health and raised awareness of risk factors. They stressed the need for increasing preventive interventions to avoid onset and progression of kidney diseases in the country.

The SIUT marked the day by organising day-long public awareness events at its Dewan Farooq Medical Centre, Karachi and Chhablani Medical Centre, Sukkur.

Speaking on the occasion, the SIUT physicians expressed concern over the increasing number of kidney patients, saying: “The sharp increase in number of kidney diseases is alarming as kidney diseases have become the sixth fastest growing cause of death worldwide”. They noted that Pakistan happens to be the eighth largest country with high prevalence of kidney diseases causing 20,000 deaths annually.

They cautioned that the leading causes of chronic kidney diseases include primarily diabetes, kidney stones and high blood pressure, while other causes pertain to excessive use of pain killers, some herbal medicines, genetic disorders and by birth defects, infections, environmental pollution and unhygienic conditions.

Unfortunately, most of the kidney function was already lost by the time the symptoms of kidney diseases appear, the experts said while explaining some basic measures for prevention of kidney diseases. They advised for taking low intake of salt and oily foods, staying hydrated, eating more fruits and vegetables and staying physically active.

They also suggested regular checkup with doctors, and avoiding consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Maintaining ideal weight, controlling sugar levels for diabetic patients, controlling high blood pressure in hypertensive patients and compliance with medications as directed by the physician were tipped as kidney safety measures.

SIUT’s activities of the Day included free clinical testing like blood and urine tests, measurement of body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure, etc. Free checkups and consultations were given by nephrologists Dr Abdul Rauf, Dr Mehr Afroze; urologists Dr Munawar, Dr Tanzeel; Paediatric nephrologists Dr Sabita Khatri, Dr Irshad Ali Bajeer; infectious diseases specialists Dr Sunil Dodani, Dr Zaheer Uddhin; diabetologits Dr Sobia, Dr Fauzia and nutritionist Naila Rasheed.

In the wake of the novel coronavirus infection outbreak in the country, particularly in Sindh, a couple of experts discussed ‘Covid-19’ and advised the participants to take simple and effective precautionary measures which they normally take against common flu like covering the nose and mouth while coughing and sneezing.

Distribution of educational material to create awareness among the masses about kidney ailments was also carried out, said a SIUT press release, adding that a large number of people participated in the event and availed the facilities.

Separately, Dr Ziauddin Hospital, North Campus, organised a scientific awareness session on World Kidney Day, which was addressed by senior nephrologist Dr Sumbul Nasir, among other experts.

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