Do tablets for blood pressure damage kidneys? Know the truth

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Even though the incidence of kidney diseases is very high, there exists gross inequality in treatment.
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The World Kidney Day is observed on the second Thursday of March every year. It aims at spreading awareness regarding the diseases affecting the kidneys.

Statistics indicate that around 880 million people around the world suffer from kidney diseases. The theme of this year’s Kidney Day is ‘Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere’. The focus of the campaign will be on controlling kidney ailments around the world and making people aware that treatment has to be started during the early stages itself.

Even though the incidence of kidney diseases is very high, there exists gross inequality in treatment. In addition, matters get complicated as factors like hunger, malnutrition, environmental pollution and mishaps related to work can lead to kidney ailments.

Globally, around 4.8 million kidney patients are in the advanced stage of the disease and require dialysis or kidney transplant. This figure is expected to rise to 5.4 million by 2030. It is a cause of concern that a majority of these patients will be in Asia and Africa. Moreover, no statistics are available regarding the patients in India. According to the World Health Organisation, India would become the diabetes capital of the world by 2025 and a significant share of the patients would be at risk of developing kidney ailments. This would lead to a sharp increase in the number of kidney patients.

Figures collected from various sources indicate that 1.5 lakh people develop last stage kidney disease every year in India. Of them, barely 10 % can afford treatment methods like dialysis or kidney transplant. Moreover, around half of the dialysis patients discontinue their treatment after three months owing to financial problems.

Treatment

The best method to reduce the intensity of kidney disease is early detection and starting treatment. The blood tests which can identify the disease are now widely available and affordable. It is better for people having high blood pressure, diabetes patients and everyone above 50 years of age to undergo these tests every year. In case there are variations in the results, they can approach a nephrologist.

Tips for healthy kidneys

» Ensure that you remain healthy and physically fit

» Make light exercises a regular practice

» Control diseases such as blood pressure and diabetes. Do not believe in common misconceptions that drugs used by modern medicine to counter blood pressure would lead to damage of the kidneys. In reality, kidney disease is caused by failure by patients to control blood pressure and diabetes.

» Ensure that you have a healthy diet every day. Take steps to prevent obesity

» Control the intake of salt. In fact, for a healthy life a person needs just one teaspoon of salt a day

» Drink plenty of water. The body’s requirement of water has to be met always. Ideally, a person has to drink around 1.52 litres of water a day. This can vary depending on each person’s physical condition, severity of disease, climate of the place and the work he or she engages in. For instance, doctors suggest that people having a stone in the urinary tract drink up to 23 litres of water a day.

» Avoid smoking

» Never buy medicines without a doctor’s prescription

» Many people take food items high in protein content as part of their efforts to reduce weight. Authoritative research on the effect of such food habits is yet to be carried out on humans, but studies on animals have proved that high-protein diets cause damage to kidneys. Such findings indicate that kidney patients need to avoid food items having excess protein content.

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