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PIA Press Release

DOH focuses on prevention of kidney illness

Laoag City (12 October) -- The Department of Health (DOH) and the National Kidney and Transplant Institute are again reminding the public of the need to protect the kidney from developing various diseases. Prevention, as has always been said, is easier, cheaper and not life threatening than when the disease has already set in.

The government has adopted a nationwide renal disease control program that includes research, advocacy, free clinic and medication. This year, municipal doctors in Ilocos Norte were targeted as participants to the kidney prevention training-seminar held on October 4-5 at the Northview Hotel.

The seminar was jointly sponsored by the Provincial Health Office, the DOH Center for Health Development in Ilocos and the different municipal health offices in Ilocos Norte.

Based on NKTI records, kidney diseases, especially End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), are already the 7th leading cause of death among the Filipinos. One Filipino develops chronic renal failure every hour or about 120 Filipinos per million population per year.

More than 5,000 Filipino patients are presently undergoing dialysis and approximately 1.1 million people worldwide are on renal replacement therapy. Estimates reveal that the number of these patients will double in 2010.

In the past, chronic glomerulonephritis was noted as the most common cause of chronic renal failure. Today, however, diabetes mellitus and hypertension have increasingly posed higher risk that would result to ESRD which together account for almost 60% of dialysis patients.

The cost of medical treatment for kidney disease was noted to be 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 at present is to focus efforts on the prevention of progression of renal diseases.

Strict blood pressure and glycemic control and adoption of " healthy lifestyle" play a major role in reducing if not totally controlling the epidemic of renal failure and this could be achieved through proper education.

Interestingly, kidney diseases are not limited to the older generation, the DOH said, noting that a big number of renal of renal problems, most of which are urinary tract infection cases, were seen in schoolchildren.

A joint preventive nephrology project in 1997 between DOH and the NKTI found that 1.1 million out of 4.7 million schoolchildren exhibited abnormal urine findings.

The figures have not been updated since 1997 but the DOH is in the process of consolidating its data on the prevalence and incidence of kidney-related diseases in Region I.

That schoolchildren are as vulnerable to kidney illnesses as their elder counterparts was because they frequently ignored the urge to urinate, NKTI doctors said.

Among the other causes of kidney failure include inadequate water supply in the body, excessive intake of protein and calcium-rich foods, exposure to chemicals, prolonged use of drugs and unchecked blood pressure. (PIA) [top]

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