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Need for more kidney checkups

PARENTS need to take their children for regular urinary checkups and adults need an annual screening in order to detect kidney diseases in time, medical experts in Shanghai said yesterday, World Kidney Day.

Urinary screening is the most effective method of detection since most chronic kidney diseases don't have initial symptoms, doctors said.

The incidence of chronic kidney disease is 10 to 11 percent in the nation and 10.5 percent in the city. It can lead to the progressive loss of kidney function and cause the organ's failure, requiring a patient to undergo dialysis or a transplant. Kidney diseases also increase the risk of a patient developing hypertension and diabetes.

Chronic kidney disease can be caused by infections, medication and inherited kidney disorders. But diabetes and hypertension are becoming the most common causes.

People with chronic kidney disease are more than 10 times likelier to suffer cardiovascular diseases since the kidney purifies blood.

Nearly 400 kidney transplant surgeries were performed in Shanghai last year. About 3,000 patients are still on a waiting list for the organ. However, doctors stressed most kidney diseases are treatable, particularly if they are detected early.

"The public and the government aren't really aware of the need for urine checks," said Dr Mei Changlin from Changzheng Hospital and the director of the Shanghai Society of Nephrology.

"Most health checkups in the city don't check kidney health. This can be done easily with a basic urine screening that costs about 30 yuan (US$4.39)."


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