KARACHI: World Kidney Day is being observed today all over the world.
Kidneys filter water waste from the blood and facilitate its rejection through urine. But we ourselves damage our kidneys by not drinking enough water, using too much salt that results in kidney stone, excessive use of painkillers and prolonged usage of heartburn medication (Proton Pump Inhibitors, or PPIs), devouring too much meat that creates acid in the blood causing acidosis (making getting rid of acid difficult), drinking diet sodas, eating processed foods (that are high in sodium and phosphorus), working out to excess, drinking alcohol and smoking. Changes to urine, coldness and fatigue, itchy skin, dizziness and nausea, and bad breath are pointers that your kidneys are not healthy.
Run for them, they’ll keep running or you!
850 MILLION PEOPLE WORLDWIDE are now estimated to have kidney diseases from various causes. Chronic kidney diseases (CKD) cause at least 2.4 million deaths per year and are now the 6th fastest growing cause of death.
Acute kidney injury (AKI), an important driver of CKD, affects over 13 million people worldwide and 85% of these cases are found in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Around 1.7 people are estimated to die annually because of AKI.
Moreover, CKD and AKI are important contributors to increased morbidity and mortality from other diseases and risk factors including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, as well as infections such as HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and hepatitis. Furthermore, CKD and AKI in children, not only lead to substantial morbidity and mortality during childhood but also result in medical issues beyond childhood.
Challenges to kidney health: disparities & access
Despite the growing burden of kidney diseases worldwide, kidney health disparity and inequity are still widespread. CKD and AKI often arise from the social conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age including poverty, gender discrimination, lack of education, occupational hazards and pollution among others.
Transplantation is considered the most cost-effective treatment of CKD. However, it has a high set up costs with regards to infrastructure and requires highly specialized teams, availability of organ donors and cannot be done without dialysis backup. Physical and legal infrastructure requirements and cultural bias against organ donation often present barriers in many countries, making dialysis the default option.
However, while national policies and strategies for non- communicable diseases (NCDs) in general are present in many countries, specific policies directed toward screening, prevention, and treatment of kidney diseases are often lacking. More than half (53%) of countries that have an overarching NCD strategy in place have no management guidelines or strategy for improving the care of people with CKD (either specifically or within a broader NCD strategy).
What we call for
This year, World Kidney Day sets out to raise awareness of the high and increasing burden of kidney diseases worldwide and the need for strategies for kidney diseases prevention and management.
Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere calls for universal health coverage (UHC) for prevention and early treatment of kidney disease.
The ultimate goal of a UHC policy is to promote population health by ensuring universal, sustainable and equitable access to essential healthcare of high quality, protecting people from health impoverishment and improving equity in health across socioeconomic groups.
Specifically, WKD calls on everyone to advocate for concrete measures in every country to improve kidney care:
- Encourage and adopt healthy lifestyles (access to clean water, exercise, healthy diet, tobacco control. Many types of kidney diseases can be prevented, delayed and/or kept under control when appropriate prevention measures are in place.
- Make screening for kidney diseases a primary healthcare intervention including access to identification tools (e.g. urine and blood tests). Screening of high-risk individuals and early diagnosis and treatment is cost-effective to prevent or delay end-stage kidney diseases.
- Ensure kidney patients receive basic health services they need (e.g. blood pressure and cholesterol control, essential medications) to delay disease progression without suffering financial hardship.
- Call for transparent policies governing equitable and sustainable access to advanced health care services (e.g. dialysis and transplantation) and better financial protection (e.g. subsidies) as more resources become available. Breaking down socioeconomic barriers and expanding access to comprehensive services in order to meet the needs of the population is essential to guarantee equitable kidney care and increase quality.
A relevant piece published earlier:
Citizens should be extra alert to avoid dehydration during Ramazan: specialist
ISLAMABAD: Specialist Thursday suggested that citizens who are fasting specially children should be extra alert to avoid dehydration during the holy month of Ramazan as the abstinence of drinking liquids between sunset and sunrise might be the biggest challenge of performing the fast.
In an interview , renowned child specialist Dr Abdul Ghafar Billo said Parents should assess the child’s ability to fast based on their health, activity level, tolerance to hunger and eating frequency.
He further said if children are fasting, let them be a part of this decision. Start getting them accustomed to eating less frequently during the day and minimize the number of meals gradually before the month begins.
Keep them well hydrated during the non-fasting hours by giving them plenty of fluids. This is very important, he added.
Dr said Parents should avoid forcing your children to overeat, since this may cause indigestion and bloating.
Smartphone putting kids’ health at risk
ISLAMABAD: Excessive use of smartphone is horrible for children’s health and may cause cancer, tumors such as glioma and acoustic neuroma as brain tissue of children absorbed about two times more microwave radiations than that of adults and the bone marrow of children soak up 10 times more radiation.
Talking to the Media, Dr. Ikram ul Haq said low intelligence quotient and improper mental growth in children, sleep deprivation, brain tumors, and psychiatric diseases were caused by excessive use of phones.
He said excessive use of phones had an adverse effect on our body, especially on the growing skulls of children, toddlers, and teenagers and it could trigger the development of brain cancer in the future.
He said cell phones have non-ionising radiations. Many types of research proved that children and unborn babies do face a greater risk for bodily damage that resulted from microwave radiations given off by wireless devices.
The rate of microwave radiations absorption was higher in children than adults because their brain tissues were more absorbent, their skulls are thinner and their relative size was smaller, he added.
Talking about preventive measures, Dr. Ikram said although wireless devices were now part of our everyday life, they could be used in a manner that is safe enough.
He said the most important point was the distance, holding a cell phone a few inches away from our ear would reduce the risk by 1,000 times.
Dr. Ikram said just like Belgium, France, Germany and other technologically sophisticated governments, our government should also pass laws that ensure issuing of warnings about children’s use of wireless devices.
He said the best place to keep a cell phone was in a pouch, purse, bag or a backpack.
Moreover, these devices should be kept away from a pregnant woman’s abdomen. If a woman was a mother then she should not use a cell phone while breastfeeding or nursing.
Children and teenagers needed to know how to use mobile phones and wireless devices safely.
Cell phones should not be permitted in children’s bedrooms at all.
Good health was above wealth, but a majority of people undermine their personal health and become more careless about their children’s mental and physical state.
Fight vaccine hesitancy as ‘contagious disease’
GENEVA: Faced with a global resurgence of measles, health experts called today for countries to step up the fight against vaccine resistance, warning the movement was spreading like a contagious disease.
World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus joined experts and health ministers from a range of countries at an event on “promoting vaccine confidence”, amid rising concerns that resistance to immunization is allowing preventable diseases to flourish.
“No country can afford to be complacent about immunization,” Tedros told the meeting in Geneva, where the WHO is hosting its main annual gathering.
The WHO says cases of measles — a highly contagious viral infection that can prove fatal — surged 300 percent in 2018.
The resurgence of the once all-but-eradicated disease is linked to the growing anti-vaccine movement in richer nations, which has been identified as a major global health threat.
“It’s a contagious disease,” Seth Berkley, who heads the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, told AFP, warning that misinformation about vaccine safety “spreads at the speed of light.”
The anti-vax phenomenon has adherents across Western countries but especially in the US, where it has been fuelled by the spread on social media of medically baseless claims, debunked 20 years ago, that the jab could cause autism.
The United States, which sponsored Tuesday’s event with the EU and Brazil, lamented the “misinformation” causing vaccination rates in the country to decline.
“Vaccines are some of the most thoroughly tested medical products we have. Vaccines are safe, effective, and lifesaving,” US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told the meeting.
He slammed “social media conspiracy groups (that) confuse well-meaning parents so they hesitate to get the recommended vaccinations.”This misinformation has real impacts,” he said, pointing to the more than 700 measles cases in the US so far this year.
Azar dismissed questions about whether past statements by President Donald Trump in support of some anti-vaccination movement claims may bear some responsibility for the problem.
Pointing to recent comments by the president urging Americans to “get your kids vaccinated”, he stressed Trump was “extremely firm” in his support of vaccination.
EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukatis meanwhile suggested that vaccine skepticism was in part linked to the fact that vaccines have been so effective that most people have no concept of how devastating the diseases they prevent can be.
“We have become victims of our own success,” he said.
Among the measures being taken to inoculate populations against the spread of misinformation about vaccine safety was putting pressure on social media companies like Facebook and Twitter to remove or flag demonstrably false information.
“This is wrong information that is killing people,” Berkley said.
According to WHO, vaccines save some three million lives annually.
“Vaccines do not cause autism. Vaccines actually cause adults,” said Katherine O’Brien, who heads WHO’s immunization department.