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Kidney: Experts call for strict regulations on carbonated, alcoholic drinks

Experts in the treatment of kidney diseases have called for stricter regulations on carbonated and alcoholic drinks to stop the growing cases of organ failure in Nigeria.

The experts lamented that these drinks contain high levels of sugar and other chemicals that can damage the kidneys over time, urging the government to step in and regulate the production and sale of carbonated and alcoholic drinks.

They made this appeal on Thursday, during a rally organised by the Kidney Department of the Federal Medical Centre, Ebutte-Metta in commemoration of World Kidney Day, with the theme, ‘Kidney Health For All’.

The World Kidney Day is an annual global health awareness campaign that is celebrated every second Thursday in March that aims to increase knowledge about healthy lifestyles, risk factors, and ways to cope with kidney diseases.

Speaking at the rally, the Head of the Dialysis Unit for nurses at the hospital, Monisola Ogunleye, recommended a ban on the sale of drinks with high sugar content and more stringent labelling requirements.

She also suggested a public education campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of kidney disease and the link to these drinks.

Without these measures, Ogunleye warned that the number of people suffering from kidney damage is likely to continue to rise.

She added, “Government has a lot to do to prevent an increase in kidney disease in the country. If you see Tobacco, they will say if you take it, you are liable to die young. The government needs to do something like that to all these carbonated drinks because you will see that young people and underage are having kidney problems. And findings have shown that some of them are because of alcoholic and carbonated drinks intake.

“Government should help us to provide more finances for public enlightenment and sensitisation so that the people can be aware of the danger in certain things they take.”

Ogunleye, however, advised people to drink more water to help preserve the kidney’s soul.

While noting that dehydration kills the kidney, the expert stressed that when people take water of about two to three litres a day, it helps their kidneys and prevents them from damage.

“We discovered that a lot of people both old and young and even the age you are not expecting to have kidney problems are having it today. We know that a lot of things are going on and that is why we want to create awareness so that people can take care of their kidneys.

“Some people do not see taking enough water as important. People should make it a point of duty to take enough water a day because when enough urine is made, some materials that are not supposed to be deposited in the body will be flushed out by the urine.

“People take carbonated drinks anyhow, eat anyhow and all these sugary drinks will cause diabetes and will lead to kidney problems. When you eat excess salt, it will in return damage the kidney. People need to be cautious of alcohol intake because it can damage the kidneys and liver. Indiscriminate use of some pain relief drugs can affect and damage the drinks,” she noted.

On his part, a nephrologist at the hospital, Dr Danladi Nmadu lamented that the kidney is an organ that is highly neglected.

While expressing concern over the growing number of patients with kidney failure, the physician said the lack of proper management of diabetes and high blood pressure cases are contributing factors to the rising cases.

He cautioned Nigerians to reduce their salt and sugar intake, stressing the importance of early detection and treatment.

Nmadu said the hospital organised the rally to sensitise the people living around Ebutte-Metta and also screen them for kidney disease.

“Today we are trying to do sensitisation on kidney care and things people need to do to prevent having kidney disease.

“We are making a lot of noise about kidneys, we will be screening people on the street, and we will be checking their urine and blood for kidney disease.

“Our diets are becoming more Western, so, the incidence of diabetes and hypertension is increasing. In addition, people are more educated, and more people know about these illnesses and because a lot of people now visit the hospital, that is why we have an increase in cases of kidney disease.

“People should try and reduce the amount of salt and I am encouraging people to drink enough water because it is really important for the kidney,” he stated.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, chronic kidney disease includes conditions that damage the kidneys and decrease their ability to keep the individual healthy by filtering wastes from the blood.

The Global Burden of Disease 2015 study by the World Health Organisation estimated that, globally, 1.2 million people died from kidney failure, an increase of 32 per cent since 2005.

According to the World Health Organisation, in 2010, an estimated 2.3 –7.1 million people with end-stage kidney disease died globally without access to chronic dialysis.

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