Two simple tests to check protein level in urine and blood test once a year can help prevent the disease

One in every 10 adults in India suffers from chronic kidney disease (CKD), and at any given point, nearly five lakh patients are in need of life-long dialysis or transplant, according to Sanjay K. Agarwal, Professor and Head of Nephrology, AIIMS.

Dr. Agarwal told The Hindu a day on the eve of World Kidney Day — observed annually on the second Thursday in March — that only 6,000 patients received new kidney and another 30,000 could afford or get access to dialysis. For the remaining 4.5 lakh, there was no definitive treatment and their survival was difficult beyond a few weeks, he said.

The disease is more common than stroke and diabetes, and of a magnitude almost equal to diabetes. The cost of treatment for an average patient is many times more than treating diabetes and stroke. However, “just two simple tests to check the level of protein in urine and a blood test for measuring serum creatinine once a year can help prevent the disease. If the tests are normal, they can be repeated after a year, and if there is any abnormality, preventive care at the early stage can be helpful,” said Dr. Agarwal, who is also president of the Institute Kidney Foundation, Delhi.

The tests costs just Rs.100 in a private laboratory and the facility is available even in small towns. Most people do not even know that the two most common causes of the disease are diabetes and high blood pressure.

Diabetics and those with high blood pressure constitute nearly 60 per cent of all CKD patients. In addition to formation of urine and cleaning the body, kidneys also help in maintaining normal blood pressure, haemoglobin level and bone strength.

“Since we cannot screen the entire population for CKD, it is necessary that those in the high risk category, people above 60 years and those with CKD cases in the family need to be focussed on,” explained Dr. Agarwal.