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‘Women twice at risk of kidney diseases,’ says expert

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With the focus on women for this year’s World Kidney Day, tagged “Kidneys and Women’s Health: Include Value and Empower,” the awareness is being created on how women are more at risk of kidney diseases than their male counterparts and how to guide against it.

Speaking at an event to mark the day which coincided with the international day for women at the Healing Stripes Hospital (a renal specialist hospital) in Lagos, a consultant nephrologist of the hospital, Dr. Adewunmi Adebowale said the anatomy of the urinary track of a woman predisposes her more to kidney infections, because unlike the man, the woman’s anatomy is exposed without their control.

This situation he explained positions them to be more prone to infections, especially urinary tract infection (UTI), which is a major risk factor for kidney diseases. Their probability of getting infected with UTI three to four times in a year predisposes them twice to kidney infections than the male gender.

Adebowale noted that apart from that there are other situations like pregnancy, which is peculiar to women and it also disposes them to renal infection.

In the state of pregnancy, he said the woman carries an extra load which means more pressure on her cardiovascular system, hence much load on the kidney.

He remarked that during this period, the woman’s body experience many hormonal changes, which are geared to interact with the kidney and many times some of them may have elevated blood pressure, which can lead to hypertension.

“About 70 to 80 per cent causes of kidney disease in this environment are on hypertension, diabetes and infection, evidently the woman is more at risk,” he added.

This pressure on the kidney could result to passage of protein in the urine and when this occurs it shows the kidney is affected and experiencing damages already.

Left unattended to, he expatiated could cause severe hypertension which results to pre eclampsia or at it’s worse stage eclampsia when the pregnant woman convulses. “This doesn’t only affect the kidney at this stage; the brain is at risk too, as almost half of such conditions leads to death when not properly managed.

Giving her comment, Doctor in Charge, Healing Stripes Hospital, Dr. Enzinne Oyemere stated that government wasn’t doing much for renal patients in the country, she therefore appealed for a policy that can facilitate local production of consumables of dialysis.

She said all consumable for dialysis are imported and this has shut up prices for instance, “a session of dialysis is N35, 000,even though it’s been subsidized to N25,000 by the Redeem Christian Church of God (RCCG) City of David in Victoria Island, many patients can’t afford it three times weekly.”

Adebowale cited the case of Cote D’Ivoire where their citizens with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are entitled to free dialysis and urged the Nigerian government to emulate that courtesy. “The cost of management of kidney diseases for patients is enormous, their dialysis should be subsidized.”

However, prevention for him was the best way forward, and instead of investing heavily in treatment in future, government should focus on awareness because most people are still ignorant.

He also advised that every pregnant woman must go to a qualified doctor or qualified health personnel for monitoring from the first trimester of pregnancy to the end, “because it’s also a contributing factor to increased maternal and infant mortality rates in this environment.”


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