CHENNAI: Despite more than 500 kidney transplants undertaken every year in Chennai, a large number of patients suffering from kidney diseases lacks clinical support to cure chronic kidney disease (CKD) due to the rising incidence of diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Tamil Nadu has one of the highest incidences of diabetes in India, and up to 30 percent of diabetics develop chronic kidney diseases.
While diabetes and hypertension continue to be the commonest cause of CKD in Tamil Nadu, other risk factors include obesity, late diagnosis, high cholesterol levels, smoking, alcoholism, high intake of salt (over 12-15 gm a day) and the use of over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers, say doctors.
“Control of blood sugar and blood pressure is vital for long-term kidney health. High salt intake increases the incidence of hypertension, which is a forerunner of renal damage. Obesity leads to an adverse hormonal milieu in the body, which can damage the delicate filtering structures present in the kidneys,” said Dr K. Sampath Kumar, nephrologist, Meenakshi Hospital and Research Centre, Madurai.
The number of patients requiring advanced treatment for kidney failure in the form of dialysis or kidney transplantation is likely to be 65,000 in Tamil Nadu, with 16,000 new patients added every year. Yet, the number of patients undergoing dialysis is not even 10 percent of the total number who need it. Also, less than 1 percent of these patients undergo kidney transplantation. These are worrying statistics, he adds.
For many patients who are at the end-stage kidney disease, a stage at which their kidneys fail to work, dialysis and kidney transplantation are the only two remaining options. As per estimates, over two lakh people in the country require a kidney transplant, with a prevalence of end-stage kidney disease around 151 to 232 per million populations.
Stressing on need of early diagnosis in case of kidney diseases, senior nephrologist at SIMS Hospital, Dr Ram Prabahar said, "It is important to detect the onset of kidney diseases as early as possible, as early detection can help in slowing the disease progress and sometimes reversing it also.
“Patients who are at risk of developing kidney disease, like patients with diabetes, hypertension, family history of kidney disease, obesity, and so on should be evaluated yearly by urine examination for protein/albumin in urine and blood test for serum creatinine to know kidney function,” he said.