KARACHI - Pakistan is considered among countries which with the highest kidney diseases where around 25,000 persons go to renal failure every year. Out of which only 10 percent succeed in receiving dialysis and only 2.3 percent have good fortune to receive transplantation. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 180 million people around the world have diabetes and 10 to 20 per cent of them will die of renal failure, as diabetes and hypertension are leading causes of kidney failure worldwide.

Talking to The Nation, the internationally renowned Pakistani surgeon, Prof Dr Adib-ul-Hasan Rizvi, who is director of the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), said that diseases like obesity, hypertension and diabetes have been declared as contributing factors causing disorders of kidney 

“SIUT as a part of its philosophy has converted the dream of obtaining expensive medical treatment into a reality by developing an integrated transplant and dialysis networking where all services are provided free and ensures a proper follow up of both donor and recipient with post transplantation immunosuppressive medication free of cost.

The country does have laws for donation of organs of a cadaver. And if it is implemented, we can save majority of patients from dropping dead from renal, liver, heart and lungs failure,” he said.

Taking notice of the gravity of the situation, various health facilities and organisations have observed “World Kidney Day” around the country on Thursday to spread awareness on kidney diseases among citizens. 

The SIUT has organised free medical clinics to mark World Kidney Day here today. The internationally recognised medical institution had made special arrangements along with screening clinics to highlight the significance of the day and create public awareness. At clinics, free medical examination and screening facilities were offered by experts to the public at large about their health indicators and prevalence of any kidney diseases.

  Elderly more at risk of chronic kidney disease

Aga Khan University Hospital has also organised a seminar in connection to World Kidney Day. On the occasion Dr Waqar Kashif of AKUH said that chronic kidney disease often goes undetected affecting quality of life with patients not exhibiting any symptoms until over three-quarters of kidney function is lost. Chronic Kidney Disease is a progressive condition in which kidneys lose their function over a period of months or years, he said.

It is estimated that about one in five men and one in four women between the ages of 65 and 74 have kidney disease.

“In short, the older you get, the more likely you are to have kidney disease. This is important because CKD increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, and in some cases can progress to kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplantation,” explained Dr Muhammad Abdul Mabood Khalil of AKUH.

 “High blood pressure and diabetes account for 75 per cent of all kidney failure patients on dialysis. Kidney disease is treatable if detected early.  Early diagnosis and careful treatment can keep kidney disease from getting worse and can prevent or at least delay the need for dialysis or a transplant,” added Dr Kashif.

 “These treatments are very expensive. They help you feel better and live longer, but they don’t cure kidney failure. Kidney transplant is the treatment of choice for patients with kidney failure and it is important for families of patients to come forward and donate one of their kidneys to their family member,” said Dr Sonia Yaqub.

Renal stone disease in Pakistan is a significant preventable cause of chronic kidney disease pointed out Consultant Urologists at AKUH, highlighting that the country lies in the ‘stone belt’.  Figures reflect up to 200 cases per 100,000 people in the southern regions. In order to prevent kidney stones increasing intake of fluids, decreasing protein in the diet and eating in moderation are advised.

Discussing kidney diseases in children, Dr Iqtidar Khan, Paediatrician at AKUH said, “Diagnosis of urinary tract infection in children is important for the early detection and prevention of chronic kidney disease in children.”