Experts from Apllo hospitals, Ahmedabad, India, have said the number of patients suffering from kidney disease was four times higher in Africa than developed countries.
They raised the alarm as the world celebrated World Kidney Day recently. The experts expressed worry over the rising cases of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the continent.
A nephrologist with Apollo Hospitals, Dr Kavita Parihar, in a statement made available to Daily Sun, said though the disease was not restricted to Africa, the number of patients in the continent, including Nigeria, was alarming and needed to be checked urgently.
“CKD is at least three to four times more frequent in Africa than in developed countries,” he said.
The expert explained the disease, also called chronic kidney failure, as the gradual loss of kidney function, adding that when it reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes build up in the body.
Parihar expressed concern that CKD affects mainly young adults aged 20 to 50 in Africa. According to him, it is primarily due to hypertension and glomerular diseases, unlike developed countries, where the ailment presents in middle-aged and elderly patients and is predominantly due to diabetes mellitus and hypertension.
He linked the unhealthy trend to late presentation of patients at the hospital, which unfortunately lands over 75 per cent cases in end stage renal disease, requiring dialysis.
He listed diseases and conditions that commonly cause chronic kidney disease as: Type 1 or type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases like lupus, HIV and others. Prolonged obstruction of the urinary tract, from conditions such as enlarged prostate, kidney stones and some cancers were other causes listed.
Other risk factors are: Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease, smoking, obesity and family in some countries, including Nigeria.
The expert recommended that patients with end-stage renal disease could be referred for transplantation even before starting dialysis. He described transplantation as the “Gift of Life” because it saves and restores the quality of life for those who have been sick for a long time.
On prevention of kidney failure, Parihar advised diabetes and high blood pressure patients to always control them.
“Take diets that are low in fat and salt, exercise most days of the week, have regular check-up, avoid tobacco, limit or stop alcohol and avoid self-medication.”
Similarly, Dr. Mark Sebastian of Global Healthcare Centre, in Lagos, said the rising cases of kidney failure, even among children was due to unhealthy lifestyle which Nigerians live. Sedentary lifestyle and consumption of unhealthy foods were said to be some of the unhealthy ways of life Nigerians live daily.