A kidney specialist has revealed that children as young as eight are suffering from genetic kidney disease while adults in the 20-30 age group are suffering from kidney failure owing to lifestyle diseases.
Consultant nephrologist Dr Nerissa Jurawan said: “In the children, it is usually a genetic disease, which means that it is something that you are born with. But what we are actually seeing now in the age group between 20 and 30 years old, it is not genetic causes; it is… diabetes, hypertension – these chronic diseases are actually presenting an early stage of this disease.”
The revelation comes as peritoneal dialysis patients at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital are to utilise the latest cutting-edge technology with the ‘Home Help Claria’ machine from next week.
The $18,000 machine allows carers to be able to track their patients online and to treat any sudden changes with their kidney function.
Peritoneal dialysis is a form of dialysis in which the lining of the abdomen, the peritoneum acts as the membrane through which fluid and dissolved substances are exchanged with the blood. As in kidney dialysis, it is used to remove excess fluid, correct electrolyte imbalances, and remove toxins in patients with kidney failure.
Speaking to the media as Barbados joined in marking World Kidney Day, Peritoneal Dialysis Coordinator at the QEH, Marselles Sealy, said the machine would allow health care professionals to track and diagnose any sudden changes in their patients as the new machine has an online feature.
Sealy said: “The difference in the machine is that we can monitor the patients online. So we can go online it is programmed in the computer and we can monitor the patients through that. It is an upgraded technology from the one that we had. We can go on the computer and pick the patients up and see if they are having problems any issues and we can correct them from our computer.”
Sealy said it is important that Barbadians take care of their kidneys as dialysis for kidney failure costs Government $52,000 a year per patient. The new unit has 100 patients obtaining treatment.
The dialysis coordinator said: “It is very important so many persons now suffer from hypertension and diabetes and these are the main causes of renal disease. It is important that persons look after themselves, monitor themselves properly and keep up with their doctor visits, keep up with their medication so they would not go to the stage where they have kidney failure.”
Among Sealy’s tips for kidney care were: “Drink your water, exercise, take the medication that is prescribed to them, keep up with their appointments. Ask your doctor to do a renal test for you to make sure that they are not suffering or are in the beginning stages of kidney failure.”
Jurawan said the Home Help Claria would assist the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to maintain its high standards for peritoneal care as it is ranked as one of the best in the Caribbean.
Jurawan said: “It is going to be very useful especially to us in the health care profession looking after our patients but the patients as well. A lot of the times the peritoneal dialysis is a home treatment and a lot of patients have been anxious about doing a treatment away from the hospital. I think this will go a long way with helping us improving our system.”