Kidney disease can kill. As such, taking care of your kidneys can ensure that you lead a long and healthy life. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Kidneys filter waste and excess fluids from the blood, which is then excreted in the urine. When chronic kidney disease reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes can build up in the body. All of these conditions require early detection, and many can be prevented.
CKD has many causes, including inherited diseases, infections and certain medications. However, diabetes and hypertension are two of the biggest culprits, and both are significant risk factors associated with obesity.
According to the National Kidney Foundation of South Africa, ten thousand South Africans, men and women, young and old, will die of kidney disease or kidney failure every year. Others are luckier and can be treated with dialysis or a kidney transplant. There are also other kidney conditions which don’t require dialysis, but which adversely affect the lives of thousands of South Africans.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many South Africans delayed or postponed their routine check-ups and treatments due to the fear of visiting hospitals. Chronic illnesses such as kidney disease require routine check-ups coupled with well-managed treatment plans. This makes it critical to diagnose and treat as quickly as possible.
“Detected kidney disease needs to be appropriately and skilfully treated. Management of hypertension, diabetes and use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS) medication can significantly improve the quality of life and managed care of patients suffering from kidney disease. This demands good medical training, active and relevant medical research, and committed support for kidney sufferers. Potentially fatal kidney disorders occur three to four times more commonly in the underprivileged African population. The good news is that if damage is detected early enough, it may be treatable. Medication and lifestyle changes can slow down, or even stop, further damage. And the earlier it is detected, the better your chances of receiving the appropriate treatment is,” says Dr Riyas Fadal, National and Commercial Manager for Complementary Services at Life Healthcare.
As the national number of COVID-19 infections continues to be managed, Life Healthcare Hospitals have taken steps to resume normal services across all units within hospitals and continues to urge people to put their health first and to not let the fear of COVID-19 delay necessary screening, medical care or treatment, especially for those with chronic illnesses.
All infection prevention and key safety measures, including screening of all patients and visitors entering the hospital remains in place. “The safety of our healthcare workers, patients and visitors is of utmost importance to us and the hospital remains ready and able to accept and treat all patients,” says Dr Fadal.
Life Renal Dialysis, part of the Life Healthcare Group, encourages and emphasises the importance of education about the harmful consequences of CKD and consistently drives early detection initiatives to increase awareness and prevention of kidney disease. “We continue to ensure that we provide the best possible specialist renal services,” concludes Dr Fadal.