Chronic Kidney Disease is Gradual and Silent
- Chronic kidney disease, which can be prevented but not be cured, affects up to 10% of the world’s population.
- The disease tends to be gradual and silent, showing symptoms only at advanced stages when treatments—dialysis and kidney transplantation—are highly invasive and expensive. For a more detailed fact sheet, read here.
- Many countries like India, lack the resources to cover the costs of these treatments for those who need them, and there are insufficient medical specialists to meet the demand.
Inequities to Treatment
There are major inequities in access to treatment for chronic kidney disease.
- If action is not taken to prevent this disease before it reaches its advanced stages, more people will suffer from it, and people will face higher future health costs.
- Treatment options for lost kidney function include: Hemodialysis (performed by a machine), peritoneal dialysis (using a catheter and fluids in the abdomen), or kidney transplantation.
- That average, however, masks highly inequitable distribution of these services; in certain countries, fewer than 200 per million inhabitants have access to treatment options.
What we can do?
- We need to extend home-based peritoneal dialysis, a safe, effective treatment that could reach many patients who are not receiving treatment today.Despite being available for more than 15 years, PD has been limited in its growth because of economic factors, inadequate government policies, nephrologist bias, and lack of adequate pre-dialysis care
- There are many things we can do to make access to treatment more equitable. These include improved prevention and early detection, strengthening of surveillance to better understand the situation in each country, training for more nephrologists and health workers to address the shortage in specialized personnel, and expanded coverage for treatment, especially for patients in advanced stages of the disease.
- The most effective way to prevent kidney diseases is through healthy lifestyles, improved treatment and controlled diabetes and hypertension. Other major risk factors include poor working conditions and irresponsible use of agricultural chemicals.
Have any questions on kidney diseases? Here are the answers.