About 10 per cent of the population, amounting to some 40,000 people, are estimated to suffer from some form of kidney problem, according to specialist Emanuel Farrugia.

“I estimate that for each of the 250 patients who visit the hospital’s renal unit, there are some 40 to 50 people out there who don’t. Kidney problems are not just about dialysis,” the consultant nephro­logist said.

Dr Farrugia stressed on the importance of a healthy diet, lifestyle and early detection in combating renal disease. He was speaking during the launch of a healthy-recipe book yesterday at Mater Dei Hospital’s renal unit.

The book, called The Kidney Care Recipe Book, contains a variety of tasty recipes that can be enjoyed by people with kidney problems. It was launched on occasion of World Kidney Day.

The book was written by culinary enthusiast and kidney donor James Muscat who is also the vice president of the Transplant Support Group which offers support to organ donors and receivers. The group also works to encourage more people to have organ donor cards.

Mr Muscat said his recipes were inspired by his own experiences and needs as a donor and as a person who recently developed diabetes and high cholesterol.

Dietician Mario Caruana was also involved in drawing up the recipes. He said there was no one single recipe guide for kidney patients as this depended on the type and severity of the problem. It was important for kidney patients to follow the advice of their dietician.

Dr Farrugia and Charmaine Gauci, director of the Health Promotion Unit, spoke about the importance of regular medical check-ups and early detection.

This ensured that action could be taken to control the situation. Dr Gauci stressed on the importance of healthy eating, drinking lots of water and exercising.

Dr Farrugia said that symptoms of kidney failure usually only start being felt when the kidneys reach five to eight percent functionality. This was too late.

The book can be collected from the renal unit, the Health Promotion Department and the Transplant Support Group.

The book was sponsored by pharmaceutical importer Vivian Corporation, the local representative of Shire pharmaceuticals – one of the official sponsors of World Kidney Day celebrated internationally.

On Sunday, Vivian Corporation, in collaboration with the Transplant Support Group, is organising a fun walk to raise funds for the support group.

The walk starts at Tigne square at The Point in Sliema at 10 a.m. and ends at St George’s Square in Valletta.

www.transplantsupport.com.mt

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