There are probably 500 million people around the world who have some form of kidney disease and around half of them do not even know they have it.
This was one of many alarming facts thrown up at a screening camp conducted by TANKER Foundation in Vadapalani recently, to check for early signs of kidney ailments.
Dr. Giuseppe Remuzzi, president, International Society of Nephrology, who inaugurated the event, said kidney disease kills more people than AIDS does every year.
Speaking on the sidelines of the programme, he said kidney disease was a huge concern worldwide, but especially for developing countries, as studies had shown that babies with low birth weight were at a higher risk of developing kidney disease.
“Mothers who are under-nourished during pregnancy could have premature or low birth-weight babies. Research has shown that these babies could have fewer glomeruli (filtering structures in the cells of the kidney), which later in life, could lead to kidney problems,” he said.
Dr. Remuzzi said it was vital to screen and detect kidney disease early, as with medical intervention, it could be prevented from progressing.
“The aim is to ensure fewer people need dialysis and transplants. There is an acute shortage of dialysis for people who need it, especially those from low-income groups. And as for cadaveric kidney transplants, the demand is more than the supply,” he said.
He stressed the need to make mothers aware about nutrition and to keep track of the health of underweight babies to detect any sign of kidney disease. “With tests now, we can tell if a person is at risk of developing the disease and take action immediately,” he said.
In a novel awareness attempt, TANKER Foundation sent out 10,000 SMSs to members of the public urging them to go to a doctor if they were diabetic or had high blood pressure.
“We will send 10,000 such messages every week to spread awareness about this silent killer,” said Dr. Georgi Abraham, founder trustee of the foundation.
The screening camp was TANKER’s 66, held to coincide with the Chief Minister’s upcoming 66 birthday.
B. Satyanarayanan, councillor, Vadapalani division and several others also participated in the event.