Experts push for lifestyle change to fight kidney disease

DAR ES SALAAM: IN response to the escalating prevalence of kidney disease, health experts across the nation are emphasising the critical role of lifestyle changes in slowing its progression. Recommendations from experts include managing underlying conditions like diabetes, adopting healthier dietary habits and integrating regular exercise routines.

Adjustments to lifestyle not only aid in managing existing kidney issues but also serve as effective preventive measures against the onset of kidney disease.

Speaking separately on the occasion of World Kidney Day, Dr Alphonce Chandika, Executive Director of Benjamin Mkapa Hospital (BMH), highlighted the urgency of these lifestyle changes amidst a surge in kidney patients.

With BMH witnessing a significant increase in patients undergoing haemodialysis, Dr Chandika underscored the importance of proactive health management to mitigate severe kidney complications.

He urged the public to prioritise their health by embracing physical activity and adhering to kidney-friendly diets.

“We encourage people to take care of their health because BMH is facing a large increase in kidney patients, with over 50 people receiving haemodialysis every day,” Dr Chandika stated.

Furthermore, Dr Chandika revealed that BMH has successfully conducted kidney transplant operations for 36 individuals since the inception of the service six years ago, offering hope to those battling kidney ailments.

Dr Norman Jonas, Medical Doctor at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC), outlined essential precautions for maintaining kidney health. He cautioned against the indiscriminate use of multivitamins, supplements and alternative medicines, which may contain ingredients harmful to the kidneys.

Stressing the significance of seeking professional guidance, Dr Jonas advised individuals to consult pharmacists or doctors to ensure medication compatibility and avoid potential kidney damage.

He also encouraged individuals to avoid taking painkillers for extended periods of time because common medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and painkillers like Voltaren might affect the kidneys if taken on a regular basis.

Emphasising the pivotal role of diet in preserving kidney health, Dr Jonas highlighted the benefits of a well-balanced diet in maintaining optimal body weight, regulating blood pressure and preventing conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

He urged individuals to monitor their salt intake, advocating for a daily consumption of less than 6 grammes to safeguard kidney function. Professor Mohamed Janabi, Executive Director of Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), underscored the severity of kidney disease, citing its higher annual mortality rate compared to breast or prostate cancer.

He stressed the importance of dietary control in preventing diabetes, a significant contributor to kidney deterioration, urging individuals to prioritize lifestyle modifications for improved health outcomes.

Dr Anthony Gyunda, a kidney diseases specialist at MNH-Mloganzila, emphasised the interconnectedness of kidney health with overall bodily equilibrium. Reflecting on this year’s theme, “Kidney Health for All: Advancing equitable access to care and optimal medication practice,” Dr Gyunda highlighted the imperative of ensuring universal access to kidney services for all patients in need.

According to the Ministry of Health statistics as of March 2023, the number of registered facilities that provide haemodialysis services has increased from 44 to 62, of which 27 state-owned hospitals have increased, the number of blood machines has increased from 633 to 742 and the number of patients benefiting from this service has increased from 2245 to 3252.

In 2019, chronic kidney disease (CKD) was responsible for over 3.1 million deaths, ranking it the seventh leading cause of death worldwide.

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