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Kidney disease screenings aim to support early intervention

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Crucial screening: Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, is screened for kidney disease (Photograph courtesy of the Bermuda Diabetes Association)

A diabetes charity has hosted its first two chronic kidney disease screenings in collaboration with a Boston-based testing facility.

The checks by the Bermuda Diabetes Association and Boston-based Carna Health are aimed at increasing early detection and reducing the need for dialysis or kidney transplants.

People with diabetes are at greater risk of developing CKD.

A spokeswoman for the Bermuda Diabetes Association said the screening programme had the support of Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, which underscored the importance of new approaches to address the “growing health concern”.

Ms Wilson said: "I find it encouraging that the Bermuda Diabetes Association and Carna Health are taking proactive measures by providing crucial screening for early detection and prevention of diabetes complications, mainly focusing on chronic kidney disease.

"Bermuda is currently facing a challenge, with 14 per cent of the population dealing with chronic kidney disease. This subtle ailment often goes unnoticed until it reaches a critical stage."

The association said that statistics revealed only 7 per cent of CKD patients in Bermuda were diagnosed in stages 1 or 2, while 20 per cent were diagnosed at the more advanced stages 4 or 5.

Proactive measures: Lori Rockhead, executive director for the Bermuda Diabetes Association (Photograph supplied)

Lori Rockhead, its executive director, said: “The association is pleased to be involved in this effort as it can make a significant difference to the people who are affected.

“Diabetes, hypertension, obesity and genetic predisposition are risk factors for CKD. BDA will host more screenings in 2024.”

Community screening aims to support early intervention efforts that can significantly alter the course of the disease.

CKD progresses silently or with minimal symptoms until advanced stages, when interventions become less effective, potentially leading to haemodialysis or transplant.

Salvatore Viscomi, Carna Health’s cofounder and chief medical officer, emphasised the significance of the programme.

Dr Viscomi said: “Carna aims to empower individuals at risk for CKD to live longer and healthier lives by providing them with a convenient, scalable and comprehensive testing platform.

“This solution will not only identify disease early and closely monitor its progression but it will also direct the appropriate patients to timely interventions so dialysis and transplant can be avoided in the future.”

Carna Health will track screening participants to help make sure that they receive follow-up testing and referrals to specialists when necessary.

Claire McDevitt, Carna’s director of operations, said: “I want to acknowledge the important contribution Kidney Care Bermuda is making by eliminating co-pays for treatment.

“Co-pays can be a significant barrier to people accessing treatment, so I applaud Kidney Care for its efforts.”

Anyone interested in being screened can contact bermuda@carna.health.

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Published December 12, 2023 at 1:41 pm (Updated December 12, 2023 at 5:48 pm)

Kidney disease screenings aim to support early intervention

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