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Chronic kidney disease is expected to become the fifth cause of death in the world by 2040

Chronic kidney disease has become a silent epidemic and is expected to become the fifth cause of death in the world by 2040, reveals an article recently published in Nature. The disease would be second only to ischemic heart disease, stroke, respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the number of deaths. The incidence of chronic kidney disease has grown by 30% in the last three decades and, according to experts, there are still enormous challenges in prevention and early diagnosis worldwide.

In Brazil, precise data is lacking, but it is estimated that the disease affects around 11% of the population, with 144,000 patients on dialysis, the procedure in which a machine cleans and filters the patient's blood when the kidney cannot function. normally. A panel of experts has just published an article in the scientific journal Kidney Diseases that provides a portrait of the disease situation in the country and recommendations to change the scenario.

“Around 70% of cases of chronic kidney disease are due to diabetes and hypertension, and these problems are closely associated with obesity,” says nephrologist Marcelo Costa Batista, from Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, one of the authors of the Brazilian work. Family history, smoking and age over 60, among others, are also risk factors.

Chronic kidney disease is characterized by the progressive and irreversible loss of kidney function over months and years. These patients are at increased risk of death from all causes. “Chronic kidney disease also increases cardiovascular risk eight to ten times. These are diseases that go together”, explains the doctor.

In the early stages, it is possible to control it with medication and lifestyle changes. In more advanced cases, the person needs dialysis or a kidney transplant. The doctor explains that this is why prevention and early diagnosis are important, as well as correct treatment to prevent the progression of the disease.

These patients also have a series of complications, as the disease causes anemia, malnutrition, neurological and metabolic problems, including changes in potassium levels, which must be correctly identified and treated.

Diagnosis in Brazil is late

More than 44% of cases here are diagnosed in more advanced stages. “We need to improve the identification of these patients, as well as more doctors trained to manage the disease according to guidelines.”

As it does not cause symptoms at the beginning, it is necessary to map out who is most likely to develop it and assess kidney function by measuring albumin in the urine and creatinine in the blood. Depending on the result, the person needs to be monitored more closely and change habits to prevent the development or progression of the disease.

At-risk patients should also be advised on precautions with certain medications that are nephrotoxic, such as some anti-inflammatories and contrast agents used in exams.

However, a survey cited in the article, carried out with doctors from São Paulo, shows that less than half of them, 42.5%, had received training in caring for these patients, 56% request urine tests for diagnosis and 64.6% had knowledge of the disease classification, all numbers that denote the need for greater updating and training of health professionals.

Kidney diseases: see the main risk factors and how to prevent

Source: CNN Brasil

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