Diabetes and hypertension among leading causes of chronic kidney diseases in the Caribbean
Chronic kidney disease is a worldwide public health problem, affecting people of all ages and races — approximately 10 percent of the population. According to recent studies, chronic kidney disease is more likely to develop in women compared to men, with an average 14 percent prevalence in women and 12 percent in men.
In the Caribbean, the Caribbean renal registry has identified diabetes mellitus and hypertension as the leading causes of chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal failure. Chronic non-communicable diseases including chronic kidney disease continue to be a major financial challenge in the Caribbean. Patients with chronic kidney disease have high rates of healthcare utilization, morbidity and mortality, and hence constitute a significant economic and clinical burden to the healthcare system.
Kidney diseases occur when the nephrons are damaged and cannot filter the blood. The damage can happen quickly, as in the case of injury or toxins, however most damage occurs over a period of time. When the kidneys fail, harmful waste and excess fluid accumulate in the body causing serious alterations, blood pressure may rise, the body retains excess fluid and does not produce enough red blood cells. Dialysis is the process of removing excess water, solutes and toxins from the blood for patients with kidneys that have lost the ability to perform these functions in a natural way.
“It’s not easy to be a patient with kidney disease,” said Dr. Neerja Agrawal, medical director of the kidney transplant program at Cleveland Clinic Florida.
A transplant may be the best course to improve their quality of life.
March 8 marked World Kidney Day to raise awareness on causes and treatment.
Agrawal explains that at Cleveland Clinic Florida, specialists will do a thorough medical history, and review necessary blood work to determine whether a patient can be a candidate for a kidney transplant. They also meet with the transplant surgeon and a multi-disciplinary team involving dietitians, social workers and pharmacists. Once they have gone through the evaluation, a selection meeting is conducted to discuss all findings and determine whether they can be listed for transplantation.
An extension of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, Cleveland Clinic Florida’s transplant program was developed by a multidisciplinary team of Cleveland Clinic Florida physicians in close collaboration with physicians from Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, which has more than 50 years of successful kidney transplant experience. The program was granted accreditation and support from Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) to perform kidney transplants in 2013. In addition, transplant surgeons at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio are dually licensed and perform kidney transplants in Florida.
“Once they become our patients, they become patients for life — even if they move to another state or country, we still keep in touch with them. They feel very secure because we follow them very closely and want us to know everything that is happening,” said Agrawal.