Dr Yemi Raji, a consultant Nephrologist, University College Hospital, Ibadan, says untreated medical condition peculiar to women is the leading cause of increased Chronic Kidney Disease in Nigeria.
Raji disclosed this in an exclusive interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan on Wednesday while speaking on the theme of the 2018 World Kidney Day, which is observed every second Thursday in the month of March.
He noted that the prevalence of kidney disease in Nigeria is about 20 to 30 per cent of the country’s population; saying most people has one form of kidney disease or the other.
According to him, it accounts for 10 per cent of all medical admission in most of our teaching hospitals; sadly most people are not aware they have kidney disease because it is still in the early stage.
NAN reports that the theme for the 2018 World Kidney Day is “Kidney and Women’s health: value, and empower’’, with the aim of sensitising the public on the need to enhance women’s kidney health.
Raji stressed that women were at a disadvantage in the family and the society at large when it comes to accessing quality healthcare on kidney health as opposed to their male counterpart.
He said: “In most parts of the world, particularly in the developing world, women are at disadvantage in terms of how you diagnose kidney disease early, how you prevent it and how you treat it.
“So at every level there is disadvantage for kidney disease diagnosis, detection and prevention among women; that’s why this year is focusing on how that trend can change.
“And looking at women and also considering the fact that there are some conditions that are peculiar to women that could lead to kidney disease and how we can sensitise the whole world both women and men about those conditions that are related to women that can lead to kidney disease.”
The nephrologist however identified cancer of the womb (endometrial cancer and cervical cancer) as the causes of chronic kidney disease in women, adding that there are other non-cancer related causes like fibroid.
He further said chronic kidney disease cuts across men, women, children and adults; with causes such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Auto Immune Disease, which is mostly common among women.
Raji explained: “Cancer is linked to kidney disease because when people have cancer there is a swelling in their tummy which compresses on the pipe that brings water from the kidney to be passed out, this causes an obstruction thereby transmitting pressure on the kidney and that destroys the kidney.
“Other problems which are not cancer related happen when there is a swelling which compresses on the pipe that takes urine away from the kidney to the outside, this obstruct the free flow of urine which destroys the kidney.
“Any obstruction that blocks the pipe that takes urine out will always lead to kidney disease, this is called obstructive neuropathy.”
The nephrologist however said one out of every four Nigerian has hypertension, while more than 50 per cent of them are not aware they do and so it continues to damage the organs of the body, including kidney, heart and eyes.
He said: “Then recently we found out that HIV is also a common cause of kidney disease among the populace; in addition there are drugs people use; a lot of pain killers, all sorts of herbal concoction and herbal medication that people take also contribute to kidney disease.
“Then we have some rare diseases, the one called Auto Immune Disease where the individual starts destroying its own organ and tissue; its own kidney just on its own without anything, the body just starts fighting and destroying itself.”
Raji urged Nigerians to do regular screening by checking their blood pressure, blood sugar level, urine and do regular exercise as well as reduce salt intake and eat healthy food as means of preventing kidney disease.
He added: “When you notice any abnormal sign see the doctor rather than do self-medication; every effort should be made to prevent kidney disease as the cost of treating it is enormous.”