Kidney failure strikes women more than men

Kidney failure strikes women more than men

Women are more likely to develop Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) compared with men.

According to a study by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, the average prevalence of CKD in women was 14% as opposed to 12% in men.

The number of cases of CKD has been on the rise in Malaysia, as reported in the 24th Report of the Malaysian Dialysis and Transplant Registry 2016.

There has been at least a 94% increase in the number of new dialysis patients nationwide in a
10-year period.

In 2016, there were nearly 40,000 Malaysians who required regular dialysis and 90% of them requiring haemodialysis treatment three times a week.

However, males predominate the dialysis treatment while the ratio of male to female incidents and prevalent dialysis patients had remained the same, at about 55 to 45 percent respectively.

Head and Senior Consultant Nephrologist at Serdang Hospital Prof Dr Goh Bak Leong told Bernama that there could be a variety of reasons for the higher prevalence of CKD in women, including uneven access to healthcare for women in some countries.

"While the reason is unclear why this illness affects men and women differently, it is something that has consistently been observed across the world, in both the developed and developing countries,” he said.

Diabetes, high blood pressure and other factors such as genetic diseases, kidney cancer, consumption of pain killers and supplements without seeking the advice of doctors are cited as causes of chronic kidney disease.

The fatality rate of CKD has been at a plateau in the recent years but women have a higher risk of fatality as they tend to ignore the symptoms and do not seek help for the ailment.

However, according to Dr Goh, there are steps that can be taken to prevent the advancement or onset of kidney disease in women, which include consistent screening for kidney disease and adequately controlling blood pressure and sugar level.

"Perhaps women need to take better care of themselves and be more proactive in seeking treatments once they are diagnosed with the illness.

"I think women may tend to delay their treatment due to commitments to the family and their role as a caregiver or fear that their lifestyle could be affected as a result of the treatment. But this is far from the truth,” he said.

The nephrologist also said that it is possible to enjoy a better quality of life once the patient seeks treatment.

Dr Goh also said that non-governmental organisations such as the National Kidney Foundation Malaysia (NKF) would help to attend patients with kidney failure and those who are suffering from various kidney-related diseases.

 APHM 2019


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