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Increased Rates of Kidney Failure in Nigeria

Increased Rates of Kidney Failure in Nigeria

Have you ever imagined using a toilet without ever flush in it and yet it's in the same house? This explains the function of the kidneys as an important component of the body's waste management system along with the liver. We have two kidneys that should ordinarily last a lifetime but unfortunately kidneys fail everywhere in the world and especially in Nigeria. 

As at 2018, kidney specialists affirmed that over 25 million Nigerians suffer from kidney failure! Some other authorities put the prevalence estimates as 2.5% of the  young, rising to a whopping 35.8% in the elderly population. 

What is Kidney Failure? 

The kidneys perform two important functions-- maintain fluid balance and eliminate waste.  A condition in which the kidneys lose the ability to remove waste and balance body fluids is termed kidney failure-- a failure to perform its functions! 
The symptoms of kidney failure include swollen feet and face, difficulty passing urine, confusion, skin changes, and, in severe cases, mental changes. In severe stages of kidney failure, sufferers will experience enormous complications including bone disease and anemia.  

Why the High Prevalence of Kidney Failure in Nigeria?  

There are a number of reasons the kidney could fail; from consuming toxic medications and foods to having underlying problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, which could damage the kidneys.  

Epidemiologists and clinicians posit that diabetes and hypertension are the commonest causes of kidney failure among Nigerian adults. With the rising burden of high blood pressure and diabetes in Nigeria, the high rate of kidney failure is not surprising. Increased Rates of Kidney Failure in Nigeria 09-11-2022 (2)

High blood pressure and diabetes damage the kidneys slowly, piece by piece, until the kidney can no longer carry out its functions. The common thing about both diseases is that they are usually silent until they become severe. So many people may be unaware they have any of these conditions until they get to the advanced stages. For some who discover early, they may be non-compliant with their treatments as they underestimate the complications of both diseases.  

There are other risk factors fingered in the growing trend of kidney failure in Nigeria: lifestyle. Abuse of drugs, from simple drugs such as over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen, to psychoactive drugs, including meth, cocaine, heroin, can damage the kidneys in the long run. Alcohol and cigarette smoking are also well known causes of kidney failure. With the spate of drug abuse among Nigerian youths on the upswing, the risk of kidney failure also grows with it.  

Poor lifestyle choices, including sedentary lifestyle, which is mostly found among urban dwellers, increased consumption of pro-inflammatory foods, such as junk foods, processed sugars, refined carbohydrates, trans fats, and saturated fats, are also tied to many cases of kidney failure.Increased Rates of Kidney Failure in Nigeria 09-11-2022 (3)

Another important risk factor for kidney failure in Nigeria is the increasing use of pesticides among farmers to grow their crops -- even in rural areas. Unfortunately, there aren't much awareness programs to sensitive the populace on the nephrotoxic effects of pesticides.  

 In summary, the Nigerian media is awash with cases of people, especially young people battling with kidney failure. It helps to know the factors that could place one at risk of this condition and make healthier choices to save their kidneys.