Health officials put spotlight on kidney disease
A campaign to boost knowledge about chronic kidney disease has been launched by the Bermuda Health Council.
Doctors and other healthcare workers have joined the drive to mark National Kidney Month and World Kidney Day on March 10.
The Bermuda Health Strategy report, published last month, said that 50 per cent of residents have at least one chronic condition such as diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease. Diabetes and hypertension are also main causes of end stage kidney disease.
Ricky Brathwaite, the health council’s chief executive officer, said: “As an already defined ‘super aged’ nation by the numbers, there are so many challenges we in Bermuda are facing and will face in the future.
“Chronic kidney disease is one of those challenges.
“Experts tell us that the global burden of chronic kidney disease is rapidly increasing with a projection of becoming the fifth most common cause of years of life lost globally by 2040.
“This has been a concern here in Bermuda for many years with hundreds on dialysis and thousands at real risk.”
A health council fact sheet said that in 2017, more than 1,100 people were treated for chronic kidney disease and more than 800 received end stage dialysis treatment or kidney transplants.
He added: “We don’t have to look to the future to forecast what we could possibly lose, we’ve lost too many already.
“It’s past time that we buckle down and support each other in making a drastic commitment to being healthier as individuals and as a community.”
A health council spokeswoman explained that the campaign will highlight the importance of promoting early diagnosis and treatment of chronic kidney disease.
It will provide people with information so that they can be aware of risk factors and to talk to their doctors about kidney disease.
The spokeswoman added: “To celebrate the month and support the kidney community, the health council’s website features a green National Kidney Month banner.
“During the week of World Kidney Day from March 7 to 11, the health council will publish a series of videos featuring local health professionals and medical doctors sharing preventative tips for kidney disease and ways to get tested for the disease for better health outcomes.”
There will also be information on how to become a kidney donor and health tips.
Keasha Lightbourne, a kidney transplant coordinator at the Bermuda Health Council, said: “We hope that this campaign will encourage our people to ask their doctors about their kidney health, know their options and understand that early detection of kidney disease is critical.
“The main cause of end stage chronic kidney disease in Bermuda’s population is diabetes and hypertension, easily diagnosed by a visit to your general practitioner.
“As a result, the health council was motivated to create a chronic kidney disease programme to educate the public and raise awareness about these risk factors contributing to the disease.
“It also was developed to increase access to the gold standard of treatment for end stage kidney disease through kidney transplantation.”
People can get involved by publicising the campaign across the island and use of the hashtags #BDAHealth and #NationalKidneyMonth.
• For more information visitwww.bhec.bm/kidneydisease.