Diabetes can damage the kidney’s filtering function especially when high levels of blood sugar strain the kidneys when filtering impure blood Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The use of dialysis water testing services in the UAE has been increasing over the years, a trend that is attributed to the growth in the number of kidney disease and diabetes patients.

Industry estimates show that over 2,000 chronic kidney disease patients are undergoing dialysis in the country and this number increases by 10 to 15 per cent every year.

In the UAE, the rising incidence of kidney failure is primarily linked to the prevalence of diabetes.

According to Prime Certification and Inspection, a sister company of Geoscience Testing Laboratory, the use of their dialysis water testing services by various healthcare centres in the UAE has increased by 15 per cent in 2015 over 2014.

Mary Jane Alvero-Al Mahdi, CEO of Prime Certification and Inspection, said: “We have seen a 15 per cent growth in our dialysis water testing services over the last year both from major government and privately-owned hospitals. This increase can be attributed to the increasing number of kidney disease and diabetic patients in the country.”

She added that treating dialysis patients requires extreme volumes of water.

“While a healthy individual would only require a daily water intake of two litres or 14 liters per week, a single dialysis treatment for four hours, three times a week, will expose the patient to more than 500 litres of water per week. And because dialysis patients are vulnerable to contaminants in the water used to prepare concentrate and dialysis fluid, the UAE requires that dialysis water is tested up to the highest levels to ensure safety,” she said.

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) 2014 data estimates that there were 803,900 cases of diabetes in UAE.

The country ranks 16th globally and fifth regionally in the incidence of diabetes, and one in five people suffers from the condition.

Sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet as well as low awareness about the disease and the risks involved are considered to be the major factors influencing this trend.

Diabetes can damage the kidney’s filtering function especially when high levels of blood sugar strain the kidneys when filtering impure blood. The kidney’s blood vessels, which have filters to supposedly remove waste products from the blood but retain useful substances, get damaged. Waste products build up in the blood while protein is excreted in the urine. The body also retains more water and salt than it should, causing weight gain and ankle swelling. Over time, the organ begins malfunctioning leading to kidney failure.

The prevalence of other lifestyle diseases in the UAE such as obesity and high blood pressure further contribute to the increasing incidence of end-stage renal disease among residents. Such patients require continuous dialysis, the treatment that substitutes for the malfunctioning kidney.

More dialysis centres have opened in the UAE to cope up with the demand. A number of these dialysis centres have adopted internationally-accredited protocols and standards in providing high-quality dialysis treatment and clinical care to patients. This is in line with the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda that aims to achieve a world-class healthcare system.