Kidney disease afflicts 10,000 Pinoys yearly
By Sheila Crisostomo Updated March 12, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – Kidney experts warned against being complacent on hypertension and diabetes, saying these could progress into end-stage renal disease (ESRD), which affects some 10,800 Filipinos annually.
Dr. Enrique Ona, director of National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), said “infectious diseases” used to be the common causes of chronic kidney disease like ESRD decades ago.
But now, he said majority of patients got their kidney damaged because of diabetes and hypertension.
“ESRD is now the ninth or 10th leading cause of death… Some 100 to 120 per one million Filipinos annually develop ESRD and we are 90 million. This is something that we should not ignore,” he said in a press conference marking World Kidney Day today.
Ona added that ESRD is the “most expensive disease that one can have.”
“To go on living, you have to go through dialysis at least twice a week for the rest of your life or undergo kidney transplant. Some 30,000 to 40,000 ESRD patients need to undergo dialysis at any given time but only 3,000 are able to get it,” he said.
Dr. Agnes Mejia, who chairs the Department of Medicine at the Philippine General Hospital’s Department of Medicine, said everyone must look out for the warning signs of chronic kidney diseases.
“Abnormality in kidney function often serves as an early warning sign of potentially more serious health problems, providing both doctor and patient with an excellent window of opportunity to address such problems before they worsen. If detected early, kidney disease can be treated, thereby reducing other complications,” she added.
Such warning signs include family history — to know if one is probe to developing kidney ailments; hypertension, diabetes and presence of bubbles in urine that is colored like beer.
“Men should not have UTI because men have longer urethra than the women,” Mejia said, referring to urinary tract infection.
She recommends that everyone must regularly undergo urinalysis and creatinine test to check on his or her kidney.
To reverse the trend, Health Assistant Secretary Elmer Punzalan urged the public to observe healthy lifestyle.
In 2007, he said the NKTI recorded 8,155 ESRD cases.
“It can become a major public health problem… so the Department of Health (DOH) has devised several measures, including the ‘Healthy Lifestyle to the Max’ program,” Punzalan said.
Under this program, the DOH promotes healthy diet, exercise and management of hypertension and sugar level, among other measures.
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