Thousands await kidney donors

A functional lab-made kidney is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters on April 12, 2013.

A functional lab-made kidney is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters on April 12, 2013.

More than 3,000 kidney patients were on the transplant waiting list at the end of 2013, while around 2,570 patients are set to undergo surgery, said Faisal Shaheen, an internal medicine and kidney consultant and director of the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation.

“A total of 7,360 patients are in the follow-up phase after undergoing successful surgical procedures, of whom 2,500 are going for review at Health Ministry hospitals and 4,700 in government sector hospitals not affiliated with the ministry, while only a marginal 160 cases follow up on their surgical procedures privately,” he said.

“There is an 11-percent mortality rate among kidney transplant patients,” said Shaheen.

“There are several important steps that can be taken to reduce the rate of post-surgical death and the overall prevalence of kidney disease. This includes avoiding the excessive use of medication, especially antibiotics and painkillers, without prescription.”

He said: “Other factors, such as fluid intake, obesity, diabetes and hypertension, all play a role in determining the likelihood of developing the disease.”

“A healthy diet rich in plant-based foods and undertaking physical exercise are a must for reducing the risk of developing kidney disease.”

Shaheen also advised limiting intake of red meat to avoid raising uric acid levels in the blood, a key factor that contributes to kidney and urethral stones problems.

“Uric acid also is present in high concentrations in certain foods, such as canned foods, deli meat and some legumes,” he said.

“Patients must immediately visit their treating physician if they feel any unusual symptoms, especially pain and swelling in the legs and toes, as well as any change in the color and the amount of urine passed,” he said.

 
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