Kidney disease PH’s 7th leading cause of death

A “lethargic” lifestyle, wrong food choices and inadequate sleep are key factors leading to diabetes and hypertension that could result in kidney disease, the country’s 7th leading cause of death.

The Department of Health (DOH) said close to 23,000 Filipinos underwent dialysis due to kidney failure in 2013, nearly four times higher than the 4,000 cases recorded in 2004, or a 10 to 15 percent increase a year.

Dr. Antonio Paraiso, manager of the Philippine Network for Organ Sharing, was quoted in online reports as saying that last year, at least 12,000 Filipinos developed kidney failure, requiring crucial transplants or expensive dialysis.

Paraiso also noted a steep rise in diabetes and hypertension cases, both contributors to kidney disease and a third called glomerulonephritis, or several renal diseases usually affecting both kidneys often characterized by inflammation of either the glomeruli or small blood vessels in the kidney.

Glomerulonephritis can come from bacterial, viral or parasitic pathogens, drugs, systemic disorders or diabetes.

To combat kidney problems, Paraiso said people should have an annual medical check and shift to a healthier lifestyle.

The website of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) said kidney diseases, especially End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), are the 7th leading cause of death in the country.

One Filipino develops chronic renal failure every hour, or about 120 Filipinos per million people per year, it said.

Before 2010, the NKTI said over 5,000 Filipino patients were undergoing dialysis and approximately 1.1 million people worldwide were on renal replacement therapy. Those figures have doubled beginning in 2010.

In the past, chronic glomerulonephritis was the most common cause of chronic renal failure. Today, diabetes mellitus and hypertension have taken center stage as the main causes of ESRD, which together account for almost 60 percent of dialysis patients.

The cost of treating a kidney disease is exorbitant and beyond the reach of ordinary patients. Renal transplantation is limited due to the expense and the shortage of donors. The best that can be done is to focus on the prevention of progression of renal diseases.

Kidneys are important parts of the urinary system. They are found at each side of the spine, below the rib cage. Each kidney is as big as a fist, weighs one-fourth pound and shaped like a kidney bean.

The kidneys perform life-maintaining functions as monitors and regulators of body fluid. They excrete fluids when the body has an excess of them and retain the substances necessary for the body’s continuing function. They produce and release a variety of chemicals to keep the body healthy and filter the entire blood supply every two minutes, excreting waste materials through the urine.

In a related development, the Transplantation Society of the Philippines and the Philippine Society of Transplant Surgeons Inc. are holding the 4th Joint Transplant Symposium on March 13-14 at the Dr. Enrique Ona Auditorium, Diagnostic Center of NKTI coinciding with the worldwide celebration of World Kidney Day.

Transplant experts from around the world have been invited, and the highlight of the symposium is the evaluation of the patient with cardiac disease and vasculopathy and the launching of the NKTI Transplant Manual.