Tue | Jun 25, 2019

5 ways to reduce your risk of getting end-stage kidney disease

Published:Wednesday | April 3, 2019 | 12:17 AM
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The kidney filters toxins from the blood, regulates blood pressure, red blood cells and balances fluids in the body. So kidney health is paramount to life. But Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), which is the gradual loss of the function of the kidneys, is on the rise.

According to the CHASE Fund’s January 2018 report, ‘Chronic Renal Disease in Jamaica – Treatment Response in the Healthcare System’, the final stage of the disease known as end-stage kidney/renal disease (ESRD) is threatening the lives of about 1,500 Jamaicans today, and that number is expected to double over the next five years.

And with this increasing number comes an increasing personal and national expense. End-stage kidney disease patients generally require three dialysis treatments per week, for life. This, according to the report, can cost anywhere from J$7,500 to $13,000 per treatment, with varying costs at private and public treatment facilities. The only other treatment option is to get a kidney transplant but only four Jamaicans on average will get a kidney transplant yearly. It is no wonder that, according to the same report, only about one-third of Jamaicans with end-stage kidney disease are getting treatment and many will die because they cannot afford to stay alive.

It is important, then, for everyone to know that any damage done to the kidneys cannot be undone. It is largely, in part, up to each and every Jamaican to take responsibility for their kidney health. Here are four ways to reduce your risk of getting end-stage kidney disease.

1. TRY TO PREVENT OR MANAGE CONDITIONS LIKE HYPERTENSION PROPERLY

It is most important to try to prevent getting hypertension (high blood pressure). See a doctor to get screened, as early detection of hypertension may mean early detection or prevention of chronic kidney disease. Hypertension may be a symptom of chronic kidney disease and a number of people with hypertension end up in the final stage, end-stage kidney disease, or even have kidney failure. If you have hypertension, take your medication as instructed. And reduce your intake of high sodium foods. Chronic kidney disease will worsen in stages until one ends up with end-stage renal disease. Its progression may be slowed down with the proper care of hypertension.

2. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR DIABETES

The CHASE Fund’s January 2018 report, ‘Chronic Renal Disease in Jamaica – Treatment Response in the Healthcare System’, states that about 10 per cent of all patients with diabetes will get end-stage kidney disease.

You are at a higher risk of getting chronic kidney disease and ending up with end-stage or kidney failure if you mismanage your diabetes. The most important thing is to carefully control your blood sugar levels. And for those who do not have diabetes, ensure to get regular check ups and screened for diabetes.

3. REFRAIN FROM SMOKING TOBACCO

Persons who smoke tobacco are at an increased risk of getting to the end-stage of chronic kidney disease. Reduce your use of tobacco to reduce your risk of getting end-stage kidney disease.

4. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT

Persons who are obese are at risk of developing chronic kidney disease and eventually having end-stage renal disease. Eat healthy and exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of getting end-stage kidney disease.

5. GET SCREENED

Get screened for kidney disease so it can be treated early. Practice a healthy lifestyle to avoid risk factors.

yourhealth@gleanerjm.com