Kidney Disease: Regular Screening Check Is Important (1)



KIDNEY is one of the vital organs in the human body, which could become diseased, and fatal if not well treated. Kidney disease kills both the young and old in Nigeria and other parts of the world.

Dr. Adebowale Adewunmi is a consultant nephrologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), who specialises in the treatment of kidney disease. He explains that the kidney is one of the few paired organs in the abdomen, comprising the right and left kidneys. The kidney is bean shaped with various parts.

“The kidney performs several functions, but for the purpose of general consumption, I can easily say that they majorly do three things. The kidney helps to carry out and wash out waste products of metabolism. It is like a sieve that filters out through the blood. Secondly, the kidney helps in blood formation. There is a chemical supplied by the kidney called Erythropoietin. If a kidney cannot supply this at all or not enough, the blood suffers. That is why most kidney disease patients have low blood pressure.

“The third major function is in bone formation. The kidney helps to produce a hormone known as Vitamin D (calciferol). The active form of Vitamin D is vitamin D3. Before it is formed, the liver must contribute CH3 group 1 to the position 1 to make Vitamin D. The second organ is the kidney, which must produce another CH3 group and position 25. Kidney is very important because if the liver does its own work without the kidney, Vitamin D is never formed. The kidney job is to also control and equalise electrolytes,” he explained.

Highlighting the causes of kidney failure or kidney disease, Akinwunmi sayed when the kidney is sick or there is kidney failure, vitamin D cannot be formed. Kidney disease could be inherited and any one can have the disease at any age.

“There are two types of kidney failure, which are Acute Kidney Failure (Acute Renal Failure), Chronic Kidney Failure also known as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

When it is acute, it means the damage occurred less than three months, while the chronic one is a kidney damage of more than three months. The most common cause of kidney failure is kidney infections, which is called glomerulonephritis. This happens at any age because infection in the blood can get to the kidney and cause havoc. The second most common is hypertension, which can be inherited.

“Whenever hypertension is present and not well controlled, it can damage the kidney. One of the jobs of the kidney is to equalise pressure or control electrolytes. So, whenever the blood pressure is high, it gives a lot of pressure to the kidney, which can choke the glomerulus (tiny filters that make up the kidney) and not enable them do their function. That is why the blood pressure of anybody who is hypertensive must be controlled by taking medications. If this is controlled, there will be no kidney failure, but blood pressure that is high over a long time can cause kidney failure.

Another thing that causes kidney failure is diabetes. Too much pressure in the blood can choke the filters in the kidney (glomerulus).

“Drug abuse can also result in kidney failure. Using drugs indiscriminately is a major contributor to kidney disease. Some of the drugs are prescribed, but they are used in over dosages, especially drugs that are not kidney friendly. That is why drugs such as Gentamycin 280mg were recently banned because they are high dosage drugs that can knock off the kidney. But if you visit some Chemist shops or roadside drug hawkers, you will find them there and people are ignorant of this. There are several other drugs that people consume but don’t know it is harmful to the kidney.

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