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Covid-19 can lead to kidney failure, fatal for dialysis patients

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

Dubai - Managing high blood pressure is the single most important way to slow down the progression of kidney disease in most cases.


Ashwani Kumar

Published: Fri 12 Mar 2021, 6:03 PM

Last updated: Sat 13 Mar 2021, 6:13 AM

Severe Covid-19 can cause kidney failure and prove fatal for dialysis patients, a top doctor revealed.

“Covid-19 caused kidney failure in many patients who developed severe disease,” Dr Stephen Holt, professor director and CEO at Seha Kidney Care (SKC), Abu Dhabi, told Khaleej Times.

He also said dialysis patients who contract Covid-19 have higher chances of death. “International figures suggest that dialysis patients who contract Covid-19 infection have up to a 1 in 3 chance of dying.

“We urge anyone who is sick to avoid visiting dialysis patients and to get themselves vaccinated to minimise the chances of passing on this deadly virus to this really vulnerable group,” he added.

Dr Holt called on patients with any form of kidney disease to get themselves vaccinated as they are much more at risk than the general population. “We unequivocally recommend the currently available vaccines to all our patients and have found it to be very safe,” he said.

He said SKC enforces strict infection control use, testing, isolation and vaccination. “Thanks to the generosity of the government offering free vaccines, we have now more than 80 per cent of our eligible dialysis patients who have received the vaccine. The death rate in SKC units has been amongst the lowest reported internationally,” he said

From March 2020 to February 2021, the SKC, under the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha), treated more than 2,800 patients with haemodialysis through some 176,200 sessions.

Dr Holt said kidney disease was a silent killer as often there are no symptoms until most of the kidney function is gone. “Most people are born with good kidney function. If we detect kidney problems early, we can start treatment that can prevent or slow the decline in kidney function, meaning people may avoid dialysis or transplantation. The problem is that kidney disease is often without symptoms until more than 80 per cent of kidney function is gone, by which time often it is too late to save the kidney. It is therefore important to be aware of the risk factors, including diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure or other heart or blood vessel problems, being overweight or having a family member with kidney disease.”

Dr Holt noted that managing high blood pressure is the single most important way to slow down the progression of kidney disease in most cases.

“Kidney disease itself often increases blood pressure and high blood pressure can also cause kidney disease, so it is difficult to know which came first. Managing blood pressure with lifestyle changes and medication can usually slow down deterioration, and sometimes even improve kidney function.”

In a bid to create awareness in the community, SKC recently organised a ‘Walking Challenge’ initiative to encourage people to walk an average of 10,000 steps every day. SKC also plans to soon launch a new website featuring comprehensive information on ways to protect the kidney.

Caring for your kidney

>Keep active and fit

>Control blood sugar

>Monitor blood pressure

>Monitor weight, eat healthy and cut salt intake

>Drink plenty of fluids

>Quit smoking

>Have your kidney function regularly tested if you’re at high risk.

Did you know?

>Managing high blood pressure is the single most important way to slow down the progression of kidney disease in most cases.

Where to call for a kidney health check-up?

>Ring 80050 for appointment at a SEHA Ambulatory Health Services (AHS) facility.


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