Lack of awareness causing the spike in kidney ailments in Goa's rural areas

Gomantak times
Thursday, 12 March 2020

Hydration is key to keeping kidney ailments at bay

PANAJI: Along with Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, Goa ranks among the few Indian States with a high population ratio with kidney disease, especially the rural areas of the coastal State where lack of awareness, as well as unhealthy drinking habits and possible environmental toxins, have contributed to the high growth of the non-communicable disease, said Dr Shital Lengade, one of the top nephrologists in Goa.

Dr Lengade was speaking at a press conference organized by Healthway Hospital, Panaji ahead of World Kidney Day, which is observed globally every year on March 12.

He also said that chronic kidney disease (CKD), is the sixth fastest-growing cause of death in the world and is threatening to leave a footprint, especially in Goa's rules.

"In Goa’s rural areas, 30 percent of the CKD cases are mostly linked to environmental factors, like poor hydration habits, poor quality of water, and high mineral content like arsenic, cadmium, unknown genetic and environmental factors," said Dr Lengade, who consults at the Healthway Hospital at Old Goa and Panaji.

One of the key reasons for increased instance of CKD in rural areas, is lack of awareness, although medical facilities available in Goa are equally good in both urban and rural regions, he said.

"In urban Goa, the common causes for kidney disease have been identified as diabetes and hypertension, which account for 30-35 percent and 20 percent of the reported cases respectively, which is fuelled by unhealthy lifestyle and improper eating habits, research suggests," Dr Lengade claimed.

While there is no particular food item that is beneficial for kidneys, maintaining a healthy balanced diet plays an important role in its good health.

According to Dr Lengade, who also serves as the honorary kidney transplant nephrologist at the State's premier Goa Medical College and Hospital, Bambolim persons who suffer recurring kidney stone diseases or have high uric acid levels, should avoid shellfish, prawns, and crabs, as a precautionary measure.

"Fish on the other hand, is a healthier option. Goan cuisine includes coconut which needs to be curbed in patients with CKD, to reduce heart disease and high potassium levels," he said.

"Overall people with high-risk factors should have a controlled intake of the above. This does not mean that the intake of the above items will result in CKD. A regular fitness routine, maintaining a proper diet, fluid intake, not smoking, as well as restricting overuse of pain killers and other medicines can help in keeping CKD at bay," Dr Lengade added.

Hydration is one of the most effective bulwarks against kidney disease because it helps to flush out toxins and reduces the incidence of kidney injury, but those already suffering from kidney-related issues, Dr Lengade said, have to restrict their water intake and should take only the recommended amounts.

He also said, that greater awareness needs to be created about the benefits of a kidney transplant, especially within families, in order to save lives as well as to eliminate myths regarding the process. Healthway Hospital is now recognized as a kidney transplant center.

Healthway Hospital has started the first private sector Kidney transplant center with 6 transplants done over last 6 months and 4 more waiting to undergo living donor transplant. Healthway has also started a waitlist for patients enrolling for a cadaver kidney transplants. This will benefit those patients who are eligible for a transplant but who have no donors.

This registration process is absolutely transparent and is in accordance with the state policy for the organ transplant registration process. These efforts will help us raise the kidney health quotient in coming years.

The theme for World Kidney Day 2020 is 'Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere - from Prevention to Detection and Equitable Access to Care'.
Golden points for healthy kidneys:
* Be active and stay fit
* Drink adequate amount of water
* Eat a healthy diet
* Control your blood sugar levels
* Control your blood pressure
* Avoid over the counter painkiller medicines
* Check your kidney functions routinely.

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