Uncontrolled diabetes damaging for kidneys, too

Dubai: Nearly 48 per cent of 250 patients who underwent some 33,000 dialysis sessions in Dubai Hospital in 2016 were found to be diabetic. In 2017, Dubai Hospital performed nearly 35,337 dialysis procedures on 260 patients, of whom 45 to 48 per cent were found to be diabetic. On the occasion of World Kidney Day, the statistics go to prove that one in two patients seeking dialysis at Dubai Hospital are diabetic, laying emphasis on the need for early detection and management of diabetes to avoid kidney disease.

Dr Amna Khalifa Al Hadari, head of the nephrology department at Dubai Hospital, said: “The statistics clearly reflect the connection between diabetes and kidney disease. We see a lot of young adults suffering from this disease because the onset of early diabetes and when diabetes is uncontrolled it leads to complications such as kidney disease. The other issue is that kidney disease is a silent disease so it often gets detected late, which means we have no option but to begin dialysis, which affects the quality of life of the patient and also puts them at risk for developing heart disease.”

Al Hadari cautioned the community: “Our message to the community is to ensure they undergo yearly health screenings and those with a family history of the disease, those who have had kidney infections or stones in the kidney, or those with co-morbidities such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension should undergo screening for kidney disease every six months to one year. In our region, I would say screening should begin as early as 20 years.”

Dr Ala Habaibeh, specialist paediatric nephrologist at Dubai Hospital, said that, compared to adults, in children the symptoms manifest themselves early on. “Prenatal testing in a foetus at risk for kidney disease takes place at 20 weeks. Therefore, we know early on and can treat a new-born early especially for congenital kidney disease. In babies and children also the symptoms are clear, they include no growth in height and poor weight gain compared to their peers, anaemia, hypoactive, weak bones, passing less urine, convulsions, regular fever due to recurrent urine infection and underlying conditions such as reflux, swelling in hands and legs and puffy eye bags etc.”

He said almost 50 per cent of paediatric cases of kidney disease are due to congenital problems and 10 to 15 per cent are due to immune disease. He also cautioned that in young adults and adolescents’ kidney disease is often due to unhealthy lifestyles. “Hypertension and diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease and we find that in adolescents the main reason of kidney disease is a poor lifestyle. Obesity due to a westernized diet, tobacco consumption, excessive consumption of fatty-foods which are high in sodium levels can lead to hypertension. These are major risk factors.”

Dr Habaibeh advised that everyone should drink sufficient water per day and children should drink plenty of water, at least 8 to 10 glasses per day, be physically active and play sports, reduce their dependence on digital technology and eat a healthy diet. “If we can get our lifestyle in order, we can minimise our risk factors of developing such diseases and maximise our chances of leading a healthy life.”

Educational campaign and screenings

The department often conducts campaigns and screening programmes across schools, health centres, malls and governmental departments to raise awareness about kidney disease and the importance of early detection. They conducted health screenings, which included tests for blood sugar, blood pressure, BMI and urine test for hypertensive patients to check protein levels and rule out kidney disease. Those with high parameters will be referred to the DHA’s primary health-care centres to determine whether the patient already has damaged kidneys or is at a risk of developing kidney disease.

Screening for kidney disease

Two tests are needed to check for kidney disease.

1. A blood test checks your Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR), which tells how well your kidneys are filtering.

2. A urine test checks for albumin in your urine. Albumin is a protein that can pass into the urine when the kidneys are damaged.


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