Kidney disease in TT reaching epidemic levels

Speaking to reporters during the annual World Kidney Day observances at the San Fernando General Hospital, (SFGH), foyer earlier this week, senior medical officer, Dr Carlyle Lalla, also noted that kidney disease was also related to both diabetes and hypertension. He pointed out that patients who were being treated for either one of those disease,. should also perform medical tests for renal disease.

“It, (kidney disease), is a major problem in Trinidad; it is a growing problem; it is an epidemic of kidney disease,’ Lalla said.

He however noted that “the population in general is concerned with heart disease, and stroke, and not realising that the same risk factor, diabetes and hypertension, mainly account for 75 percent of patients in Trinidad. As a result, the Minister of Health said recently, it was the same lifestyle factor, not only locally, but internationally.”

Lalla said the approximately 120 patients receive dialysis treatment at the SFGH saying this was “the largest single number of patients at a single hospital in the country.

Asked what persons could do to prevent the disease, he said, “first of all, exercise to prevent the diabetes and hypertension. If you have hypertension or diabetes already, you should get tested.” “If you control diabetes; if you control hypertension, you can prevent renal disease. Also drink adequate amounts of water, keep yourself well hydrated,’ Lalla said.

Meanwhile, South West Regional Health Authority, (SWRHA), Chief Executive Officer, Anil Gosine, said the hospital would soon be increasing its dialysis chairs from ten to 14 chairs.

Gosine also observed that the US-based Centre for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that one in ten persons around the world was living with some form of kidney disease, while in “Trinidad and Tobago it is estimated that between 350 and 400 new patients need kidney dialysis.”

“This means we have a big task ahead of us and outreach programmes like these hosted today, will help us to reach our goal of educating and reducing the number of patients with kidney-related diseases,’ he added.

“At the San Fernando General Hospital, the Nephrology Unit (Ward 16B) caters to all patients who are affected with kidney diseases. Treatment available at the San Fernando General Hospital includes Haemodialysis (Renal) as well as Peritoneal Dialysis,’ Gosine said.

“Annually, they perform an average of 6,441 dialysis, with ten machines. At South-West RHA, we have an average of 14 new patients monthly with 120 of them on dialysis. It is my intention to increase the dialysis chairs for 10 to 14 in the upcoming year,’ he said.

Gosine observed that this year’s theme was “Chronic Kidney Disease and ageing” and focused on having risk factors associated with kidney disease, such as having diabetes or high blood pressure, smoking, having a family history of kidney disease, and being over the age of 50 years.

He also observed that kidney disease could “effectively be detected through blood and urine analysis. Therefore people who are prone to kidney disease, such as diabetes and hypertensive patients, should have their kidney function tested on a regular basis.” “If detected at an early stage, kidney disease is treatable,” he said, and urged the population to become organ donor, and cited a February 11, 2014 operation in which a team of skilled surgeons successfully removed two kidneys from a deceased donor at the SFGH.

“This selfless act of kindness of the patient’s relatives during their time of grief will improve the quality of lives for two persons with chronic renal failure. An organ transplant means a new lease on life for people in need of a heart, kidney, lung or other vital body part. At this time I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the family of the deceased for their gift of life,” Gosine said.


"Kidney disease in TT reaching epidemic levels"

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