Nutrition, healthy lifestyle, must for healthy kidneys: Experts

ISLAMABAD: Health experts on Wednesday stressed that nutrition and healthy lifestyle were essential for keeping kidneys in good condition throughout life.

The symptoms of kidney disease in children are often nonspecific, which means that there is a risk that kidney problems may be missed in them, said Dr. Musarrat Hussain, Consultant Pediatric Nephrologist at a seminar organized by Shifa International Hospital (SIH) to mark World Kidney Day.

Kidney diseases affect millions of people worldwide, including many children. Some children are born with kidney disease and others develop it when still very young.

This year’s theme “Kidney Disease and Children” reminded that people must all think about kidneys from an early age as much of the adult renal disease is actually initiated in childhood.

Dr. Musarrat said that in childhood the leading causes of kidney failure in children are hereditary conditions, often lacking obvious indicators such as hematuria (red blood cells in the urine), hypertension (high blood pressure) or edema (swelling).

Additionally, kidney disease that becomes evident in adulthood may occur more often in persons with risk factors that can be detected in childhood.

He said “it is our duty to make aware general public about the importance of identifying and treating childhood kidney diseases, and awareness of the risks for their future from kidney damage that originates in childhood, therefore building healthier future generations.”

Consultant Nephrologist Dr. Nayer Mahmud said toxic drugs and fake medicines have their own considerable share in kidney damage.

Kidney diseases are diagnosed through history, examinations by qualified doctors and certain tests. He said many kidney diseases can be treated efficiently if diagnosed in time.

“Otherwise permanent kidney damage occurs that can prove fatal for the patient,” he stated.

Dr. Nayer advised that once the kidney damages, patients with blood pressure and diabetes should visit their doctor regularly.

The dose of antibiotics should be adjusted according to the kidney function, he added.

He also recommended the audience to make sure proper fluid intakes during kidney disorder.

He was of the view that many people know nothing about kidney disease until it’s too late.

He observed that unlike many diseases, kidney disease often has no symptoms until it is in very advanced stage.

He expressed his regret that often because of lack of awareness on the side of physicians, diagnosis gets delayed.

“To keep your kidneys healthier for longer time, a very important step is to learn about the disease and also get your kidneys tested on periodic basis,” he recommended.

Consultant Pediatric Urologist SIH Dr. Ejaz Hussain underlined the importance of detecting pediatric kidney disease.

“Kidney disease can be treated, even in smallest patients. Further, because much of adult kidney disease has its roots in childhood, it is critical to focus on infancy and childhood if we have to prevent and cure kidney diseases.”

He said the best way to prevent kidney failure is early diagnosis of underlying disease and aggressive treatment.

“However despite all the measures, some kidneys fail.” He suggested that the treatment of kidney failure is either hemodialysis or kidney transplant, whereas dialysis offer an excellent short time cure.

“Transplant is the option which gives the best chance of a good long term quality of life,” he added.

One year patient survival on hemodialysis is 75 percent and after transplant it is 98 percent. For patients who do not have a living donor available, they can opt for deceased donor transplantation (cadaveric transplant), he said.

Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rezzan Khan said that healthy kidneys remove waste products from the bloodstream and in chronic kidney disease waste products can build up in the blood.

“Some of these waste products come from the food we eat. We may need to limit some foods to avoid complications,” she added.

Blood pressure and diabetes must be controlled optimally to keep kidney fit and healthy.

A large number of people from all walks of life attended the seminar. Free serum creatinine tests were conducted on the occasion.