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Are Women At Risk of Kidney Failure?

by Natasha Christopher

When it comes to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), women may be more likely to develop the illness than men. According to studies by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the average prevalence of CKD in women is 14% as opposed to 12% in men.

Interestingly, researchers also found that men were likely to go on dialysis earlier in the course of their illness compared to women, for reasons that aren’t fully known.

Prof. Dr. Goh Bak Leong Head and Senior consultant nephrologist in Serdang Hospital, who is also the president of the Malaysian Society of Nephrology, says that there could be a variety of reasons for this 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,” says Prof Goh.

Malini receiving treatment

Malini receiving treatment

Puan Malini binti Ismail’s story is slightly different. Having completed her professional ACCA in the UK, Malini landed a job in a German Firm and later TV3 as an accountant. Then in 2012, a blood test revealed that her kidneys were not functioning the way they should. By then she already knew she had diabetes and hypertension but was unable to proceed with the dialysis due to her work commitments.

Despite being someone who loves to travel and enjoys food, Melini has been forced to cut back on these activities since being diagnosed with CKD and commencing dialysis treatments with National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia (NKF).

“I once had a scare when I indulged in some nasi dagang and was admitted to the hospital for two days! I have since started making more effort to cook and eat healthier foods,” shared Melini.

Ms. Sheela Devi

Ms. Sheela Devi

Patients like 40-year- old Shela Devi continue to benefit from haemodialysis treatments at NKF, as her family is not well-off. Although she has registered as a recipient for a donor’s kidney she has not yet heard any good news. With no transplant in sight, she is thankful to NKF for prolonging her health and life so she can eventually see all her children grow up and have their own families.

According to Prof. Goh, there are a number of steps that can be taken to prevent the advancement or onset of kidney disease.
Sidebar: Risk factors for age-related kidney disease
Some conditions that affect the kidneys are more common as people get older. You are more at
risk of developing kidney disease if you:
 are over 60 years of age
 have diabetes
 are obese
 have high blood pressure
 have established heart problems (heart failure or past heart attack) or have had a stroke
 are a smoker
 have a family history of kidney failure
 have a history of acute kidney injury

Keeping your kidneys healthy
There are a number of things you can do to keep your kidneys healthy, including:
 If you have diabetes, make sure that your blood sugar control is excellent. Follow your
doctor’s advice about insulin injections, medicines, diet, physical activity and monitoring
your blood sugar.
 Control high blood pressure. Have your blood pressure checked regularly. Drugs used to
lower blood pressure (anti-hypertensive drugs), such as ACE inhibitors or angiotensin
blockers can slow the development of kidney disease.

 If you have one of the risk factors for kidney disease, have a kidney health check (blood
test, urine test and blood pressure check) at least every year (more frequent if you have
diabetes or high blood pressure).
 Treat urinary tract infections immediately.
 Control blood cholesterol levels with diet and medications if necessary.
 Drink adequate water and choose foods that are low in sugar, fat and salt, but high in
fibre. Stick to moderate serving sizes.
 Do not smoke.
 Drink alcohol in moderation.
 Stay at a healthy weight for your height and age.
 Try to exercise moderately for at least 30 minutes a day.

For more information on these and future NKF activities or to donate towards the organisation’s
efforts, please visit NKF’s website or call 03-7954 9048.





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