Chronic kidney disease 8th leading cause of death in women

March 09,2018

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Islamabad: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a worldwide public health problem with adverse outcomes of kidney failure and premature deaths. CKD affects approximately 195 million women worldwide and it is currently the 8th leading cause of death in women, with close to 600,000 deaths each year.

Consultant nephrologist at Shifa International Hospital (SIH) Dr. Syed Farhat Abbas shared these statistics with participants of an awareness seminar organised by the hospital Thursday in connection with World Kidney Day and International Women’s Day. SIH also launched Women Health Value Card on the occasion to make basic health screening tests for women more accessible and affordable for women.

Dr. Farhat shared that the risk of developing CKD is at least as high in women as in men. According to some studies, CKD is more likely to get developed in women compared to men, with an average 14% prevalence in women and 12% in men. He further added that CKD progression is slower in women compared to men; psycho-socioeconomic barriers such as lower disease awareness lead to late or no start of dialysis among women and uneven access to care are among major issues in countries with no universal access to healthcare.

Dr. Farhat observed that unlike many diseases, kidney disease often has no symptoms until it is very advanced. To keep your kidneys healthier for a longer time, a very important step is to learn about the disease and also get your kidneys tested on periodic basis, he recommended.

Consultant nephrologist SIH Dr. Khawaja Sayeed Ahmed said, some kidney diseases,such as lupus nephropathy or kidney infection (acute or chronic pyelonephritis), typically affect women. Lupus nephritis is a kidney disease caused by an autoimmune disease, which is a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the own cells and organs. Pyelonephritis is a potentially severe infection that involves one or both kidneys. Kidney infections (as most urinary tract infections) are more common in women and the risk increases during pregnancy. Timely diagnosis and treatment is the key to better management of kidney diseases.

Dr. Sayeed informed the audience that treatment of kidney failure is either hemodialysis or kidney transplant, whereas dialysis offers an excellent short-time cure. One year patient survival on hemodialysis is 75 percent and after transplant, it is 98 percent. Patients who do not have a living donor available can opt for deceased donor transplantation (cadaveric transplant), he said.

Dr. Sayeed educated the audience on ensuring healthy kidney function. Kidney diseases are silent killers, which will affect quality of life. “There are, however, several easy ways to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease; keep yourself fit and active, keep regular control of your blood sugar level, monitor your blood pressure, eat healthy and keep your weight in check, maintain a healthy fluid intake, do not smoke, do not take over-the-counter pills on a regular basis and get your kidney function checked if you have one or more of the high-risk factors, he advised.

Renowned Pakistani adventure athlete Samar Khan, who was also among the speakers, motivated and inspired the audience. “World Kidney Day and the International Women’s Day 2018 are commemorated on the same day, offering us an opportunity to reflect on the importance of women’ s health and specifically their kidney health. Kidney Day promotes affordable and equitable access of general public to healthcare education and awareness, she said. She also expressed her interest to play her part to further empower women with health education.

Senior clinical dietitian SIH Zainab Ghuyyur highlighted the relevance of Kidney disease and pregnancy. She said CKD is also considered a risk factor for adverse pregnancy outcome and reduced fertility. Women who have CKD are at increased risk for negative outcomes for mother and baby; pregnancies in women with advanced CKD are most challenging with high rates of hypertensive disorders and preterm births. On dialysis, results improve with intensive (daily or nearly daily) dialysis treatment.

Zainab shared that in successfully transplanted women, fertility can be restored and chances of successful birth increase. However, as complications are observed more often than in the general population, preconception medical counselling should always be sought. There is a clear need for higher awareness on CKD in pregnancy, to timely identify CKD in pregnancy, and to follow-up women with CKD during and after pregnancy. In this respect, pregnancy may also be a valuable occasion for early diagnosis of CKD, thus allowing planning of therapeutic interventions.

There is a clear need for health awareness, timely diagnosis and proper follow-up of CKD in pregnancy. In turn, pregnancy may also be a valuable occasion for early diagnosis of CKD, allowing planning of therapeutic interventions, Zainab stated. In the end, Dr. Samea K. Ahmad, Member Board of Directors SIH and Chairperson Tameer-e-Millat Foundation presented the vote of thanks.


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