Kidney Day screenings highlight health issues

A fifth of the 75 people who underwent free health screenings during World Kidney Day at the Cayman Islands Hospital this month were referred to their doctors for follow-up action, according to the Health Services Authority.

The free blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol tests at the hospital were offered to help people understand the health of their kidneys.

Dr. Nelson Iheonunekwu, an internist and nephrologist overseeing the dialysis unit at the hospital, said, “Any time we can prevent even one person from getting chronic kidney disease, the day was worth the effort.”

During World Kidney Day on March 12, members of the public were also given tours of the dialysis unit so they could get a better understanding of the disease. About 50 local patients regularly undergo dialysis treatment at the unit.

According to a statement issued by the Health Services Authority, Cayman has “high levels of kidney disease, due to the incidence of high blood pressure and diabetes, both of which are causes of kidney failure.”

Lizzette Yearwood, chief executive officer at the health authority, said that according to the International Diabetes Foundation, more than 5,000 people were registered as diabetic in the Cayman Islands last year.

“The Cayman Islands has a well-documented issue with increasing obesity, which can cause both diabetes and high blood pressure,” she said. “The combination of preventative screening, having a healthy diet, exercising regularly and avoiding excessive amounts of alcohol are lifestyle choices that can help to reduce the likelihood of kidney disease.

“We will continue to focus on fighting the battle with the silent killer and educating the public and our patients by creating general awareness of the issues linked to kidney disease while providing accessible, preventative health solutions.”

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