Renal failure is a big challenge for Jamaica’s public health system and the Mandeville Regional Hospital (MRH) in Manchester is appealing to Jamaicans to get screened early to know the function of their kidney.
Renal function refers to the state of the kidneys, and how well they filter blood. Two healthy kidneys provide 100 percent of your renal function.
World Kidney Day is celebrated in March and for this year’s celebration on March 10, the theme, “Healthy Kidney For All, Bridge the Knowledge Gap for Better Kidney Care” was used.
The MRH hosted a health fair on Wednesday, March 9 and used the opportunity to educate persons on the prevention and management of kidney disease. Scores of persons also received free screening tests for kidney function, urine analysis, blood sugar and blood pressure tests.
Nurse Manager at the MRH Renal Unit, Marika Davis Miller said the hospital intends to make this an annual event adding that: “Based on the theme for this year, it’s about knowledge and educating persons on prevention. We would like for persons to prevent renal failure so we are telling everybody what they can do to avoid it today.”
Nurse Davis Miller encouraged persons to get their screening done yearly, visit their healthcare providers, exercise and eat healthy.
She explained that uncontrolled diabetes and uncontrolled blood pressure are the leading cause of renal failure worldwide.
it has five stages and when persons reach stage five, they need dialysis. We are seeing a number of persons who need dialysis and it is a burden for the system because in order for someone to get on the machine, someone has to die, as we only have 12 stations” Nurse Davis Miller explained.
Nurse Davis Miller noted that kidney disease can have many different signs and symptoms that are non-specific.“This means that these same symptoms could also be signs of dysfunction in another body organ. Some non-specific symptoms of renal disease include: fatigue; difficulty concentrating; trouble sleeping; dry, itchy skin; frequent urge to urinate; blood in the urine; urine is foamy; puffiness around the eyes; loss of appetite; swelling in the ankles and feet and muscle cramps” she said.