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PIA Press Release

Aklan REDCOP calls for healthy lifestyle to beat kidney disease

by Venus G. Villanueva

Kalibo, Aklan (25 June) -- Aklanons must practice a healthly lifestyle to avoid suffering from renal or kidney disease, according to Erlin Morales, a medical technologist at the Provincial Health Office (PHO) here.

Morales is also the provincial coordinator of Renal Disease Control Program (REDCOP) of PHO-Aklan. The program is under theDepartment of Health (DOH).

In 2008, kidney disease is rated as the number 8 killer disease in the Philippines while in 2009, it rose to number 6.

"It is a latent disease - it has no manifestation, no clinical signs or symptoms and can only be found out through routine urinalysis. If diagnosed early, it can be cured but if it is on its end-stage, it is already fatal," Morales told the PIA during its weekly radio program over RMN-DYKR here.

Morales added that people suffering from kidnes diseases in late stages have no choice but to undergo dialysis, or if they have enough money, kidney transplant.

As a medical technologist based at the Dr. Rafel S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital, she said she has seen and known many people suffering from kidney diseases.

"I saw a case of a 42-year old mother of 7, whose family is quite well off, who came to the hospital for consultation. I saw that she had black scars in her skin, but I thought it was only skin irritation. When she came back to the hospital to complain of her bloody urine, essential tests were made, her creatinine was 600+, and that was how we knew she had a kidney disease. We referred her to the National Kidney Institute, and she was told to undergo dialysis every other day. That time, dialysis costs P7,000.00 to P9,000.00 per session. Devastated, her husband came home to Aklan to look for resources, but after two weeks, the wife died. Her children were still small," Morales related.

Months later, Morales related, the woman's father in law was diagnosed of End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). He was a retired employee, and his will to live was strong, but he died too.

Morales also related the case of her own father-in-law who was asthmatic. One time he complained of backaches and he came to the neighborhood "manughilot" for some relief. Later, when he came to the hospital for consultation, he was found to be suffering from kidney disease. In Manila, he was told to undergo dialysis every other day, each session costing P4,500.00. All his children chipped in for his medical expenses, but eventually, he died, causing emotional devastation to Morales' seaman-husband who cannot accept his father's fate, that he suffered a stroke.

"Suffering from ERDC heaps emotional, psychological, physical and financial problem not only to the patient but to family members. Treating it and having kidney transplants are expensive, and the patient has to take anti-rejection drugs as maintenance. So kidney disease prevention is very important ", Morales stressed.

To prevent kidney diseases, Morales said school-age children's urine should be routinely examined for infections so treatment could be made. People should drink plenty of water, change their lifestyle, and practice proper hygiene. Everybody must go back to basics regarding foods, avoiding "instant" ones by taking time to prepare natural, fresh and nutritious foods. Parents should watch out if their children suffer from tonsillitis or pharyngitis, as this might be signs of chronic kidney diseases. Adults should also maintain an annual urinalysis.

The PHO, according to Morales, has no current records on how many Aklanons have died of the disease of how many are suffering. However, basing on the number of Aklan mayors who are requesting for the revival of the dialysis center, there could be a substantial number. Municipal mayors are mostly approached by their constituents when they need medical assistance, so mayors know the most common disease the people are suffering from.

Presently, there is one dialysis center here located at the St. Gabriel Hospital.

This month of June, the country is celebrating Kidney Month, with the theme "Happy Kidneys, Happy Family". (PIA) [top]

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