Pretoria – Early detection of the onset of chronic kidney disease and starting treatment for the underlying causes as soon as possible could potentially prevent up to 80% of cardiovascular deaths in South Africa.
According to the World Health Organization, about 27.4% of men and 26.1% of women in South Africa battle with hypertension, and high blood pressure is closely linked to kidney failure.
The International Diabetes Foundation indicates that an estimated 4.5million South African adults have diabetes, another contributor to kidney failure.
These two health issues, according to the National Kidney Foundation, are the main indicators of future kidney failure and if diagnosed soon enough, can be treated. Hypertension and diabetes can, when treated properly, be managed.
Chronic kidney disease results in the gradual loss of kidney function. Advanced stages result in fluid and waste building up in the body. Chronic kidney disease can progress to end-stage kidney failure and death.
Dr Riyas Fadal, national and commercial manager for Complementary Services at Life Healthcare, said many people delayed or postponed routine check-ups and treatments for fear of visiting hospitals in the pandemic.
Fadal said once detected, kidney disease needed to be skilfully treated, especially through the management of hypertension and diabetes through the use of medication.
About 10000 men and women die of kidney-related disease annually with only a fraction able to receive dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant.
“Potentially fatal kidney disorders are three to four times more common in the underprivileged African population. If the damage is detected early it may be treatable. Making the necessary changes can slow, even stop, further kidney damage,” Fadal said. “We urge people to not delay screening or treatment.”