Health News of Saturday, 22 December 2012
The number of kidney related diseases reported at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital reduced by 42 cases this year, compared to that of 2011.
This year 2,645 patients have been diagnosed with kidney related diseases as against 2,687 cases recorded at the Renal Unit of the hospital in 2011.
Speaking in an interview with graphic.com.gh, the Head of the Renal Unit of the Korle-Bu Hospital, Dr Charlotte Osafo, said despite the marginal reduction, kidney diseases had become a silent killer disease and a growing problem in the country.
The types of recorded diseases include kidney failure, acute kidney and chronic kidney diseases and kidney transplant.
Over the past years, kidney patients in the country have been battling with the amount of money they have to pay for dialysis, a treatment for kidney disease, since the National Health Insurance Scheme does not cover the renal replacement therapy for patients who have chronic kidney diseases.
Approximately, the affected age group of persons affected is between 10 and 70 years.
Kidney disease is mainly caused by progression of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and the inflammation of the kidneys.
At the initial stage it becomes very hard to detect, since sometimes there are no clear symptoms.
However, when the disease is advanced, the symptoms include tiredness, swollen ankles or hands, shortness of breath, nausea and blood in urine.
Those with the condition have a greater risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
It can also cause kidney failure, when sufferers will need to have dialysis and possible transplant.
Kidney disease can also be caused by too much intake of alcohol, herbal medicines, and smoking.
Dr Osafo, explained that early treatment could prevent the need for expensive dialysis or transplant and cut the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
She indicated that one cure for kidney failure was to have a kidney transplant, but even in that case, finding a person who would be prepared to donate one of his or her kidneys was difficult.
She added that much of water intake, exercise, balanced food and avoidance of self medication can prevent one from getting the disease.
A patient at the Renal Unit, Mrs Owusuwa Agyapong, confirmed that her medication was not covered by the NHIS and had to find various means to get herself treated.
“The government is not ready to help us since it says the medicine is too expensive and cannot afford for every victim of the disease,” she said.
She explained that she underwent dialysis three times a week at a total of cost of GH¢50, which was posing a major danger to those who did not have the financial capacity to pay the bills.
Mrs Agyapong, therefore, appealed to philanthropists and corporate organisations to come to their aid and assist the weak ones as a social responsibility to the society and be blessed accordingly.