By Carlena Knight
As the world marked World Kidney Day yesterday, one local medical practitioner is calling for greater public awareness regarding kidney health.
Dr George Mansoor, nephrologist at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre (SLBMC), told Thursday’s Observer AM show that while some progress has been made regionally, it falls short in reducing the percentage of persons affected by associated illnesses.
“We need to keep pushing and working and here, where I talk about the level of awareness, I really don’t mean just the patients themselves or the people that are at risk; I am referring also to the healthcare team, the physicians, nurses, technicians and also to all policy makers because non-communicable diseases are unnoticed by world governments.
“We see so many different activities on that but you should know that actually kidney disease is not considered among the top non-communicable diseases,” Dr Mansoor said.
He added the way in which the world zones in on specific illnesses or organs have played a part in why greater emphasis is placed on some more than others. Because of that, he is suggesting that a different approach be taken.
“The way that we have been doing these sorts of activities worldwide is that we have been organ-centric and I believe the way it should be moving towards is a body-centric approach.
“Whether you are talking about heart disease, cancer, even a lot of the other conditions, the risk factors are very similar,” he explained.
“It seems to make sense to me at an organisational level that we should be really looking at ways to collaborate across all the different sub-disciplines to have a joint national, regional approach to the conditions,” Dr Mansoor added.
Dr Mansoor is also suggesting that a revamped educational campaign be implemented in schools.
“To prevent any of these lifestyle diseases that show up when you’re older you have to tackle it early. You cannot just wait until the person has the disease and try to reverse it; it’s too late.
“It is like jumping off the cliff and then saying, well I am going to lasso you back. You have to start before the person would even get anywhere near the problem so as to try and prevent the problem,” he said.
He is also encouraging persons to live a healthy lifestyle through exercise, drinking the specific requirements for water, eating healthily and getting the right amount of sleep so as to limit the risks of contracting kidney disease as there are no early signs to detect it.
Presently, there are 110 patients on dialysis at the SLBMC. This, Mansoor said, is a “steady growth compared to past times”.
Patients are also being advised to ensure that they abide by the medical advice of their physicians.
Dr Mansoor added that self-monitoring is critical, especially if patients choose to either switch medication or stop treatment altogether.
World Kidney Day is a global campaign started in 2006 aimed at raising awareness of the importance of our kidneys. It is a joint initiative of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations (IFKF).
This year’s theme is ‘kidney health for all’.