By Medicover Hospitals / 28 March 2022

Home | Articles | Kidney transplantation - A new lease of life

By Dr Kamal Kiran
Director, Dept. of Nephrology
MD, DNB - Nephro
  • A staggering 850 million people worldwide are now estimated to have kidney diseases due to various causes. Chronic kidney diseases (CKD) lead to at least 2.4 million deaths per year and are now the sixth fastest-growing cause of death.
  • Rise in the need of kidney transplantation

  • Back in the year 2000, there used to be only 15-20 kidney transplants per year across all the hospitals. As the years passed, the number of transplants have gone up to 70-100. India needs more than 1 lakh transplants per year, but it’s currently only 12,000.

    Lack of awareness and shortage of organs are the main reasons for not opting for kidney transplants. To cater to this situation, medical science has achieved tremendous progress and now surgeries like Live donor transplants, Cadaver transplants, Swap transplants, etc. are also available to help maximize the number of transplants. Kidney diseases are life-threatening and early detection of the same will save precious lives. This is possible only by creating awareness and encouraging people to seek medical care on time to avert serious future complications.

    Living on hemodialysis is a tough job for the patient as well as for the entire family. A suitable donor can give a new lease of productive life to an ill person. Most of the time a suitable donor is available within the family itself. More awareness campaigns are required towards cadaver donor organ donation.

    People should be well-informed that they should consult a doctor if someone in their family is suffering from diabetes, protein loss in urine, hypertension, family history of kidney problems (Polycystic Kidney) etc. Also, excessive use of pain killers, swollen legs, less urine output, fatigue, lack of appetite, anemia, blood in the urine (hematuria), back pain, and frequent urination especially at night, are symptoms that point out dangerous signals.

  • We hope that the awareness generated on the need and importance of kidney health would bring some change in the way people look at kidney disease prevention and work towards a healthier lifestyle for healthier kidneys.

    Kidney health for everyone and everywhere calls for universal health coverage (UHC) for the prevention and early treatment of kidney diseases. We have to ensure universal, sustainable, and equitable access to essential health care of high quality.

    We have to encourage and adopt a healthy lifestyle, exercise, follow a healthy diet, and decrease tobacco consumption. Many kidney diseases can be prevented, delayed, or kept under control when appropriate prevention measures are taken.

    We should make screening for kidney diseases a primary health care intervention. Screening of high-risk individuals (diabetics, hypertensive) and early diagnosis makes treatment cost-effective and prevents end-stage disease.

    Kidney transplantation is considered the most cost-effective treatment for CKD. However, it has high setup costs, requires specialized teams, availability of organ donors and dialysis backup. Cultural bias against organ donation is a big barrier in our country. All of us should strive to make kidney care a priority and should encourage public to come forward and get themselves evaluated.