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Islamabad: Health experts on Wednesday claimed that Pakistan ranks eight in the list of countries with a high rate of kidney diseases, with 17 million people suffering from such diseases.

According to them, chronic kidney disease (CKD) is rapidly growing in Pakistan due to late diagnosis, kidney stone disease and increasing number of patients suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure.

Nephrologist and head of the Kidney Transplant Unit at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Dr Khawar Sultan said consuming junk and low quality food, self-medication or excessive use of medicine, low water intake, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and renal stones are few common causes of kidney diseases.

He said that the treatment of kidney failure is either haemodialysis or kidney transplant, whereas dialysis offers an excellent short time cure. He added transplant is the option, which gives a best chance of a good long-term quality of life.

He said that in order to avoid kidney disease it is necessary that diet and lifestyle should be healthy throughout life even if diabetes and hypertension is under control.

Dr Sultan advised people get early and regular check-ups to avoid future complications.

Keeping in view the increasing burden of chronic kidney disease in Pakistan, he said there was a need for aggressive screening.

He advised to adopt healthy lifestyles like drinking clean water, exercise, healthy diet and tobacco control.

He said that many types of kidney diseases can be prevented, delayed or kept under control when appropriate prevention measures are in place.

Dr Sultan said that with 10 per cent of the population worldwide having some form of kidney damage, there is a long way ahead to raise awareness about the dangers of kidney disease.

The latest numbers show that chronic kidney disease is predicted to increase by 17 per cent over the next decade and is now recognised by WHO and other organisations as a global public health issue.

He said that World Kidney Day is being observed on March 14 with the theme ‘Kidney health for everyone everywhere” to raise awareness of the high and increasing burden of kidney diseases countrywide and the need for strategies for kidney diseases prevention and management.

The theme of the present year calls for universal health coverage for prevention and early treatment of kidney disease by ensuring universal, sustainable and equitable access to essential health care of high quality across socioeconomic groups.

Dr Wasim Khawaja, jealth expert at PIMS, said that 850 million people worldwide are now estimated to have kidney diseases from various causes. He added that chronic kidney diseases causes at least 2.4 million deaths per year and is now the sixth fastest growing cause of death.

He said that acute kidney injury (AKI), an important driver of CKD, affects over 13 million people worldwide and 85 per cent of these cases are found in low and middle-income countries. Around 1.7 people are estimated to die annually because of AKI.

He said that 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.

Dr Khawaja said that 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.