Dubai Health Authority World Kidney Day
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Around 40,000 dialysis sessions have been performed in Dubai Hospital in 2019 said a top health official.

Dr Sima Abdollah Askarinejad, nephrologist at Dubai Hospital spoke to Better Health to raise awareness of kidney diseases and mark World Kidney Day, which was held on March 12 this year.

This year, the theme of World Kidney Day 2020 is Kidney Health for Everyone, Everywhere. The campaign highlights the importance of preventive interventions to prevent the progression of kidney diseases.

Dr Askarinejad said that the dialysis sessions were performed for about 250 patients, of these, 40 per cent are diabetic. “One of the major reasons of kidney disease is uncontrolled diabetes, cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure. Moreover, kidney disease is a silent disease, therefore people often don’t realise they have the disease until it’s reached a later stage. It is important for those comorbidities such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease to screen themselves every three months.

The test is simple, it’s a blood and urine test. Others without these risk factors or without any family history should get this screening done during their yearly screening.”

Dr Askarinejad’s tips for kidney health

Adequate water intake

Except for those with certain diseases that require the level of hydration to be monitored or controlled, in general, it is highly recommended to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily and more if you exercise on that day. Given the hot temperatures in the summer in the UAE, it is important to keep hydration levels up, as that is a frontline prevention against kidney stones. In fact, those with kidney stones should consume at least 3 litres of water. Avoid soft drinks and sugary drinks as excessive consumption can predispose a person to diabetes.

Screen yourself

If you have risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes or cardiovascular disease, you should get your kidney function test done regularly. It is also very important to keep these conditions under check.

A healthy diet

The fact that lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension can directly affect the kidneys is well established. Therefore, staying on track with food is important to protect kidney function. Those with blood sugar or hypertension should regularly check their sugar and blood pressure. It is easy to get home BP and sugar monitoring machine to keep a regular check.

Regular exercise

It is important to note that obesity is directly related to certain types of kidney disease. Far too many benefits of regular exercise have been highlighted and its direct impact on health and well-being is known. The key is to exercise regularly, adopt a mix of cardio, stretching and strength training and to follow a regime that works for you especially if you have any health conditions. I would like to warn against over-exercising or doing exercises that are not recommended, especially if you have conditions such as cardiovascular disease.

Watch your intake of painkillers

Excessive and unsupervised consumption of painkillers is not recommended. Even in patients with normal kidney function, excessive painkillers over a long period is not good.

Quit tobacco

This is self-explanatory as tobacco is known to have many toxins and can directly cause a host of diseases including certain types of cancer. It is best to visit a smoking cessation clinic to receive medical and psychological support to quit the habit.

Vitamins and herbal remedies

Always consult your doctor before consuming any vitamins and especially if you intend to consume any herbal remedy. Make sure the herbal drugs are those approved by the Ministry of Health and prescribed by a qualified health physician.

Watch your protein intake

In general, proteins are considered heavy for the kidney to break down; excessive protein intake over a long time can be detrimental to kidney health.

Types of kidney failure

There are two types of kidney failure. Acute Kidney Injury (AKI), which is a serious condition that develops suddenly, often lasts a short time and usually the patient recovers most of his kidney function.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) tends to worsen over time. There are five stages in this disease and patients with stage 5 eventually progress to end stage renal failure requiring renal replacement therapy.

Screening for kidney disease

Two tests are needed to check for kidney disease.

1. A blood test checks your GFR, which tells how well your kidneys are filtering. GFR stands for glomerular (glow-MAIR-you-lure) filtration rate.

2. A urine test checks for albumin in your urine. Albumin is a protein that can pass into the urine when the kidneys are damaged.