Islamabad: Unhealthy diets are leading to a dramatic rise in the number of kidney problems faced by patients and that urgent attention was needed to resolve the issue lest it proves to be fatal. This was disclosed by nephrologist Dr. Khawar Sultan while speaking to Express-News.
“The past two decades have seen a dangerous increase in the percentage of kidney patients,” said Dr. Sultan who practices at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims).
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He added that as many as a dialyzes of 50 to 60 patients, who have lost their kidneys, visit Pims for dialysis. The central dialysis center in Pims, he said, had treated 53,597 patients over the past four years. Further, as many as 13,177 patients had visited the center for their hemodialysis last year.
This, though, was down from the the13,870 dialysis procedures carried out in 2016. However, he pointed out that number of patients had peaked at 14,350 in 2015 while 12,200 patients had visited the center in 2014.
“Kidneys are an important organ of the body which excretes unwanted material out of the body while also maintaining a balance between water, salt, and acidity in the body. The kidneys also control blood pressure and play an important role in the production of vitamin D and blood,” Dr. Sultan said, adding that around 20,000 people die of kidney failure every year.
“The biggest reason [for kidney diseases] are sugar and blood pressure while a lifestyle comprising of fast foods, pain relief medicines, lack of exercise, jobs which require one to sit in a single position for long periods of time, birth problems, use of poor medicines, stones in the bladder, increased prostate, and glomerulonephritis are other reasons for kidney failure,” he explained.
The nephrologist said that symptoms of kidney diseases include blood in urine, black urine, irregular inflammation in the body or face, lack of appetite, repeatedly feeling nauseous or vomiting, fall in sugar levels, or returning to normal levels without taking any medicine for sugar patients and lack of blood.
He urged that the best way to tackle this was to control blood pressure and sugar. He also stressed the need to exercise, getting prescriptions medicines from qualified doctors, avoiding medicines from homeopathic doctors apart from regular checkups during pregnancies.
Should one encounter symptoms of kidney disease, he advised that a nephrologist must be consulted rather than resorting to self-medication.
Once the kidney disease progresses towards kidney failure, it is called the ‘end-stage’ or renal disease. This, he said, has only two available treatments. One is dialysis —cleaning kidneys through a machine. This is a procedure that needs to be carried out frequently, often multiple times a week.
The other solution, he said, was a kidney transplant. For the procedure to be successful, Dr. Sultan said that it was essential that the patients are given the kidney of a healthy person. With a human body possessing two kidney’s Dr. Sultan clarified that if a healthy person donates one of their kidneys, it would not affect their daily life.
Asked about chances of transplant rejection, Dr. Sultan said that these were real. However, its effects can be significantly lowered with the aid of medicines.