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Kidney Disease diagnosis on the rise; Kidney screenings are encouraged


by Eulana Weekes

St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Junior Minister with responsibility for Health and Gender Affairs in the Nevis Island Administration, the Hon Hazel Brandy Williams revealed that “more and more” people are presenting with End-Stage Kidney Disease on Nevis.

“Here on Nevis, we continue to see more and more of our people presenting with end stage Kidney disease. As a consequence of this, the Ministry of Health is presently assisting a number of persons ranging from age 33 to 74 years with dialysis treatment.”

Minister Brandy Williams shared the importance of screening, citing that it gives a better chance of early detection.

“We continue to educate people that a simple way of identifying and preventing potential health problems is through screening. Chronic Kidney Disease can be treated. With early diagnosis and treatment, it’s possible to slow or stop the progression of Kidney Disease. We encourage you to get your Kidneys checked if you have one or more of the following high risk factors such as, Diabetes, Hypertension, Obesity, or a family history of Kidney Disease.”

Several persons from the island of Nevis travel to receive Dialysis Treatment on St.Kitts, a matter that has raised major public outcry. However, during the Prime Minister’s first Press Conference of the year, (February 10), the Hon Dr. Timothy Harris outlined a commitment made by the Government for persons on Dialysis.

“Consistent with our 2022 Budget commitments outlined at paragraph 87 of my budget address, I am pleased to report that the cost of treatment of Hemodialysis and Oncology patients have been reduced by a significant 50 percent, effective February 1st 2022. In real terms, the cost of Hemodialysis treatment has been reduced from 800 dollars to 400 dollars per session. This is a massive saving in any language. Those who are uninsured will benefit from a 50 percent reduction on the portion of the cost of the treatment not covered by Insurance. In other words, this massive saving is really intended for the uninsured.”

In commemoration of World Kidney Day (March 10), Nurse Ikirsha Rawlins, a nurse that works in the Dialysis Unit at the Joseph N France General Hospital joined Jamie and Kortensia on Good morning SKN to address the growing health concern; Renal Failure.

“We know that we have had an increase in Kidney Diseases and most of the times when people find out they do have Kidney disease, is when it’s basically too late. You have pre-exempt signs and symptoms but because you don’t pay attention to these signs, you are not aware of them.”

Nurse Rawlins listed some of the signs and symptoms that persons need to pay attention to, as they may very well be signs that a person is having Kidney issues.

“Sometimes you have fatigue, excess vomiting, you feel very tired, you pee fast or something like that, you just don’t feel anything; weakness; these are basically signs and symptoms to tell you that something is wrong with the Kidneys. So, don’t take these signs for granted. Just go to your doctor, explain to your doctor and your doctor will do a blood test. Normally when a doctor does a blood test, what he specifically looks for is an increase in the Creatinine. If there is an increase in the Creatinine, then what it does, it signifies that something is wrong with the Kidney, which leads to End Stage Renal Disease.”

According to Rawlins, individuals who have a history of Diabetes and Hypertension are the ones who normally present themselves with Kidney Disease. The nurse added that the ages of persons who have undergone Dialysis treatment is balanced, declaring that the youngest patient that they ever had, was either a 12 or 13-year-old female.

End stage Kidney Disease or End Stage Renal Disease is the last stage of Chronic Kidney Disease. It can be life-threatening if left untreated. A person that is affected by this disease has a chance of living for many years once he or she receives dialysis or a Kidney Transplant. As stated by Nurse Rawlins, such persons must make lifestyle changes such as a no salt diet and less fluid and also attend their regular appointments so that they can have the necessary treatment.


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