Residents turn out for free kidney screening

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Dozens of residents turned out for free kidney screening when local organisations joined forces to mark World Kidney Day on Wednesday.

The Rotary Club of Antigua partnered with the Medical Benefits Scheme, the Antigua and Barbuda Diabetes Association, the Antigua and Barbuda Renal Society and the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre for a special chronic kidney disease screening which took place at the country’s lone hospital.

The activity was widely appreciated by attendees and much emphasis was placed on the importance of early detection to prevent life-threatening issues in the future, a release said.

Nephrologist at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre, Dr Ian Thomas, said that it was the first in a series of screenings to be held to identify high risk factors for the disease.

“This type of early detection ensures that we have a better chance of treating the disease and we can also hopefully decrease the risk of heart disease and kidney failure,” he said.

Prevention Unit Manager at the Medical Benefits Scheme, Josina France, said the statutory body was very happy to be involved in the event, adding that around 40 people had turned out to take part.

“We hope that we can get some positive and preventative results coming out of this,” France added.

President of the Rotary Club of Antigua, Joanna Spencer, said the group was grateful for the support it received. She added that part of the club’s mandate is to sensitise the public about diseases and conditions that continue to affect residents in Antigua and Barbuda.

She noted that chronic kidney disease is one lifestyle affiliated condition that can be minimised by making good, healthy decisions and increasing physical activity.

Chronic kidney disease involves a gradual loss of kidney function. The kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from the blood, which are then removed in the urine. Advanced chronic kidney disease can cause dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes to build up in the body.

In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, one may have few signs or symptoms.

Treatment for chronic kidney disease focuses on slowing the progression of kidney damage, usually by controlling the cause. The illness can progress to end-stage kidney failure, which is fatal without artificial filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant.

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