Kidney transplants among Filipinos with diabetes rising

Kidney transplants among Filipinos afflicted with diabetes have been steadily rising the past 20 years, a leading Filipino urologist said.

Dr. Benjamin l. Mendoza, a US-trained urologist, noted that “most kidney transplants we are doing are those afflicted with diabetes.”

In the 1980s Filipinos afflicted with kidney disease was due to infection, inflammation and hypertension, but during the last two decades the culprit is diabetes.

”About 1,000 kidney transplants are being performed in the country per year during the past two decades and counting,” Dr. Mendoza told the Philippines News Agency in an interview.

”Fifty percent is attributed to diabetes and the other half is due to various illnesses,” Dr. Mendoza added.

To avoid diabetes, the best antidote is diet, regular exercise, including brisk walking for at least half an hour, and a regular medical check-up, particularly blood sugar or even urinalysis, Dr. Mendoza said.

”Drinking plenty of water is also good but intake of water must be done during the day. Drinking plenty of water at night is not advisable because one’s sleep is interrupted when one has to go to the rest room to urinate.”

”Early detection of diabetes is also a big advantage for a patient to enable him to control his blood sugar level,” he said.

Kidney transplant is very expensive, ranging from P1 million if you have a donor and P3 million or more if you have none, Dr. Mendoza said.

Dr. Mendoza holds clinic at the National Kidney Institute, St. Luke’s Medical Center, East Avenue Medical Center and other big hospitals in Metro Manila.

He said it is very expensive to have a kidney transplant.

”The cost is at least one million pesos that is if you have a donor and is more if you have none, running into P3 million,” Dr. Mendoza said.

However, he advised kidney patients to coordinate with kidney foundations found in some big hospitals like the National Kidney Institute.

”The foundation will help facilitate the finding of a donor,” he said.

Dr. Mendoza also said the donor will be taken cared of by the foundation, including livelihood and insurance.

The US-trained doctor warned “to avoid dealing with middlemen in kidney transplant because they are more expensive as their only motive is money.”

”You will be shortchanged,” Dr. Mendoza said.

A prospective donor will be screened thoroughly before he is considered donor, he said.

”We have to make sure that the would-be donor is not suffering from major illness,” he said.

Once a donor is found to be compatible with the patient’s kidney, the donor will undergo a surgery called open or laparoscopy wherein the incision is limited to a small portion of the stomach, Dr. Mendoza said.

It will take one to two weeks to screen a donor.

Dr. Mendoza also said that foreigners are coming to the country to undergo kidney transplant because the cost is much less.

“Filipino doctors are at par with the world’s best and our facilities are also comparable to the best in the world,” he said.