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Awareness 'key to reduce kidney problems'

Al Ain, March 16, 2009

Creating awareness about kidney disease and early detection are important in treating the problem, say specialists.

Marking the World Kidney Day on March 12, Al Ain’s Tawam Hospital noted a rise in the number of in-patient and out-patients treated for chronic kidney disease at the hospital.

The World Kidney Day is part of a global health initiative to educate the general public about the importance of our kidneys. It aims to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems by detecting the disease as early as possible.

“The best long-term strategy for reducing the number of people in the UAE with Kidney disorders is preventative and early detection methods. Early detection can save lives. Alongside medication, changes to lifestyle and early referral to a kidney specialist can prevent or delay kidney failure. A regular kidney check up will include a blood pressure and blood sugar check, blood test for kidney function, and urine test for protein,” said Dr Samara Abouchacra, head of Nephrology Department.

As two of the most important organs in the body, the kidneys are responsible for getting rid of waste products and toxins in the body, filtering approximately 1.0 to 1.5 gallons of blood throughout the day.

Whilst millions of people die prematurely from the complications of kidney disease each year, thousands of lives could be saved if people were more aware of the signs and symptoms. Unfortunately many people who have chronic kidney disease are unaware of it, because the early signs can be so subtle. 

Symptoms of kidney disease vary from patient to patient but include changes in urination, swelling in the legs, ankles, feet or hands, fatigue, skin rash and itching, metallic taste in one’s mouth, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, dizziness and trouble concentrating, leg / flank pain.

People at risk of kidney disease are those who have high blood pressure, suffer from diabetes, are overweight, smoke, are over 50 years old and who have a family history of kidney disease, said Dr. Abouchacra.

“We want to stress that people should not be overly concerned about every ache and every pain. However, at the same time people suffering from an array of symptoms that worsen over time should seek professional advice sooner rather than later. Taking note of all your symptoms, how long they last and when they first became apparent can help with the correct diagnosis,” said Dr. Abouchacra

In terms of preventing kidney problems later in life, lifestyle changes can play a key role in keeping your kidneys healthy.  This includes eating lots of fruit and vegetables, including legumes and beans, eating grain based foods like bread, pasta, noodles and rice, eating some chicken and fish each week, only eating small amounts of salty or fatty foods and drinking plenty of water. In addition, maintaining a healthy weight, doing at least 30 minutes of exercise five or more times a week, not smoking, limiting alcohol intake and reducing stress levels.

Individuals diagnosed with kidney disease should follow a special diet that decreases the amount of stress on the kidneys, such as a low protein, low sodium and low potassium diet, she said.

Individuals can ‘Ask an expert’ or Find a Doctor’ on Tawam’s interactive website (www.tawam-hosp.gov.ae) for further professional advice on Kidney Disease, treatment and screening.

Tawam Hospital, which is managed by John Hopkins Medicine, is owned and operated by SEHA, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Tawam | kidney |

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