Chronic Kidney Disease Is the Second Cause of Death in the Central American and Caribbean Region

    10% of the world population suffers from chronic kidney disease, which is related to diseases such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension

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    Those patients who develop chronic kidney disease due to a complication of type 2 diabetes lose up to 16 years of their lives due to premature death or development of disability. According to data from the international organization ‘World Kidney Day’, 1 in 10 people suffer from chronic kidney disease, which is equivalent to 10% of the world population, and according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), it is the second cause of death in the Central American and Caribbean region.

    For this reason, and within the framework of World Kidney Day, the Central American and Caribbean Federation of Pharmaceutical Laboratories (Fedefarma), calls on governments and the population to adopt preventive measures that allow them to safeguard kidney health. . The kidneys fulfill a fundamental function by removing from the blood a series of elements that the body does not need, and they regulate chemical substances of great importance such as calcium, potassium and sodium. When these organs begin to fail, the quality of life of patients is threatened.

    For Dr. Mauricio Chávez, Bayer’s cardiorenal advisor for Central America, the Caribbean, Ecuador and Peru, the main risk that kidney disease faces is that it is not being detected on time. “It is a very silent disease, which progresses progressively. It is not until presenting very noticeable symptoms such as high blood pressure, swelling of the hands and feet, discoloration and itching of the skin, and constant fatigue, that the patient becomes alarmed and goes to the doctor”, indicated Dr. Chávez.

    Chronic kidney disease is often related to other conditions such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Both diseases have shown increasing rates in recent years, with more than 250 million people suffering from high blood pressure, and 62 million people with diabetes in the American continent, according to PAHO data. It is estimated that 40% of patients with type 2 diabetes present kidney complications that could subtract up to 16 years from their life; this due to premature death or presenting a disability due to the disease.

    There are a series of preventive actions that people can develop in their day to day. Dr. Chávez recommends adopting a healthy lifestyle where constant physical activity and nutrition allow you to maintain adequate levels of blood pressure and blood sugar. In addition, constant hydration, avoiding smoking and regularly checking your blood pressure and blood glucose levels through regular exams are other recommendations provided by international organizations.

    Access to information and primary care is the first barrier to ensuring kidney health

    Fedefarma calls for a vision of health systems more oriented towards prevention. For Victoria Brenes, Executive Director of Fedefarma, patients must have the opportunity to access health systems before presenting major complications. “We must not allow chronic kidney disease patients to access health services until they are on dialysis and in need of a transplant. Primary care and the prevention strategy must be strengthened, so that patients have access to information, health services and medical follow-up when there is still time to reverse the damage”, she asserts.

    In addition, Brenes believes that the health authorities, hand in hand with the private sector, should develop educational campaigns that allow the general population to understand the importance of the kidneys, and the causes, symptoms, and consequences of kidney disease.
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