Dialysis patient numbers triple in ten years

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The number of patients needing dialysis treatment has tripled in the last ten years, according to the latest statistics.

And the 200 percent increase in patients needing the life-saving but costly treatment means that a “disproportionately high” number of Bermudians are queuing up for dialysis.

In 2002/3, just 54 patients received dialysis at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. But by 2012/13, that figure had ballooned to 157 patients.

It is understood that the majority of patients who need the treatment are suffering from diabetes — a chronic condition that often causes kidney damage.

The number of diabetes patients on the Island is believed to have doubled in the last decade.

Last night health chiefs were unable to confirm how much the treatment was now costing the cash-strapped Bermuda Hospitals Board.

But physicians have pointed out that diabetes and the need for dialysis could be almost eradicated if the population made better lifestyle choices.

Yesterday a BHB spokesman said: “Unfortunately, Bermudians are disproportionately affected by renal disease.

“In the majority of cases, renal disease is related to diabetes mellitus and hypertension — diseases which affect Bermudians in great numbers.

“People with diabetes mellitus or hypertension should have their kidney function assessed yearly.

“Our goal is to detect renal disease and offer appropriate therapy before patients reach end-stage renal disease and require haemodialysis.”

Earlier this month, the Bermuda Diabetes Association warned that the Island was “in the middle of one of the biggest and costliest epidemics ever seen”.

BDA vice chairman Annabel Fountain said: “We estimate that more than 12 percent of Bermuda’s population has diabetes.”

Dr Fountain added that Bermuda has “the highest rate of lower limb amputations [due to diabetes] in the developed world” and that “a disproportionately high number of people on dialysis”.

“These diseases and complications are largely preventable. By making healthy lifestyle choices such as increasing exercise and reducing the added sugars in your diet, you can significantly reduce your risk of diabetes and its devastating effects.”

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Published Nov 26, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Nov 26, 2013 at 8:42 am)

Dialysis patient numbers triple in ten years

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