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Mar 12, 2015

A Closer Look at Kidneys

The Kidney Association of Belize, since its inception, has been building awareness to the benefits of getting tested and knowing your status. In light of World Kidney Day, which is celebrated annually on March twelfth, the association has planned several activities throughout this month to encourage the public to get tested.  This past Saturday, a kidney walk was held in Belize City and starting today, free clinics were held at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where kidney patients and the public had free access to medical consultation. According to President of the Association, Ruby Nicholas, they have invited Nephrologist, Doctor Shazia Khan from the U.S. to conduct these clinics locally. Doctor Khan spoke about what you can look for in cases of the silent disease.

 

Shazia Khan

Dr. Shazia Khan, Nephologist

“Kidney is mostly a silent disease. Most common diseases that would lead to chronic kidney disease and kidney failure is diabetes and hypertension. Symptoms are not very…it’s not like having a kidney stone and pneumonia where you have fever and cough and you know something is wrong. It could be as simple as swelling in the legs, tiredness and fatigue. People who may pay more attention to their urine may think that their urine may look foamy and that may be a first sign that they are leaking protein through the kidney, but most of the time it is an asymptomatic disease…people may feel fine. Most people that will stop making urine are people are very close to dialysis or for some reason, there is some pathology going on that stops them…but majority of them will urine. Some time they will complain that they urinate a lot at night time which again I would like to caution that it is not the only symptoms. So again, it is very important that they get checked because it is a silent killer; you would not know that you have it.  I saw some patients that had established chronic kidney disease and then I saw one patient where kidney function is normal, but she has protein in the urine, but she had no clue because again it is asymptomatic. Another thing I want to put there for public to know and it is the same in the United States, we use a lot of over the counter pain medicines. I have a headache, I have a toothache and they take ibuprofen or medications like that on a regular basis, that’s bad for kidneys too. So I think people should be aware of what they are putting in their bodies even if it is over the counter stuff.”

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