‘Worrisome rise’ in kidney disease noted

Rate of patients with kidney failure increased by 70 percent between 1997 and 2007.

Kidney Dialysis 370 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Kidney Dialysis 370
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Israel will mark World Kidney Disease Awareness Day on Thursday as experts are concerned by a “worrisome increase” in the condition, in which kidney failure leads to the need for dialysis.
Some 400,000 patients with uncontrolled diabetes are at risk of kidney failure, according to the Israel Association of Kidney Dialysis Patients. Between 1997 and 2007, when the figures were last reported, the rate of patients with kidney failure increased by 70 percent.
The only other alternative is a kidney transplant, but many patients die from the disease before an organ becomes available.
The life expectancy of patients with new kidneys is a decade longer than those on dialysis.
In addition to 6,000 patients on dialysis, in which the blood is filtered to remove toxins resulting from kidney failure, some 10,000 more are estimated to suffer from advanced kidney dysfunction and will need dialysis in another few years.
Diabetes is responsible for two-fifths of all kidney failure cases.
Early diagnosis of kidney problems by undergoing EGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate) tests and proper treatment can prevent decline of kidney function. Patients’ routines are completely changed by their condition, including limits on how much they can drink.
Association chairman Amos Kanaf said that at last count, there were 19.3 kidney failure patients per 100,000 compared to 11.3 per 100,000 a decade before.
Early diagnosis is vital for reducing the need for dialysis, thus awareness must be boosted in the population, said Dr.
Shimon Sturch, head of the nephrology department at Bnai Zion Hospital in Haifa. Proper nutrition, including reducing the amount of protein, sodium and phosphorus in the diet, is recommended. High phosphorus levels raise the risk of death by 40% in such patients.
Patients are invited to workshops, sessions with dietitians and other events. The association was set up in 1995 to help kidney patients cope with their disease and help protect their rights.