Controlling your diabetes and blood pressure could help you avoid kidney failure, which in Malta impacts the lives of 300 people.

In marking World Kidney Day, the renal unit was this year raising awareness on prevention, with diabetes and hypertension being the most two common conditions that led to kidney disease, charge nurse Paul Calleja said.

There are about 300 patients receiving renal replacement therapy at the hospital’s unit or at home.

About 220 of them receive treatment in hospital three times a week, spending some four hours hooked to a machine. The youngest person receiving treatment is aged 18 and the eldest is 90 years old.

There were 245 patients receiving such treatment five years ago. It increased periodically as a result of the growing population and the fact that people nowadays lived longer, he noted.

Apart from blood pressure and glucose screening as part of its awareness raising activities, paediatricians would this week also repay part of the renal unit’s debt to the transfusion unit, which replenished it with lifesaving blood every day.

The youngest person receiving treatment is 18 and the eldest is 90

Mr Calleja noted that the kidney produced a key component for the formation of blood. This hormone was not produced in people diagnosed with the most common kidney diseases, leading to a drop in blood levels. While there were synthetic injections that controlled haemoglobin levels, in some patients the situation was so bad they needed a blood transfusion.

Apart from kidney patients, donated blood is used by cancer patients and also during operations. While surgeries may be postponed if there is a shortage of donated blood, transplant operations cannot wait.

Blood pressure, blood glucose and body mass index monitoring services will be available until Friday between 9am and noon at Mater Dei Hospital’s foyer.

Meanwhile, in collaboration with Mater Dei’s well-being section, the renal unit will be holding exercise sessions tomorrow and a lecture by lead consultant nephrologist Emanuel Farrugia will be held on Thursday at noon at the same foyer.

The activities will move to the square in front of Parliament in Valletta on Saturday and a fun walk will be held in collaboration with the Transplant Support Group (Malta) on Sunday at 10am from Tigné, in Sliema, to Valletta.


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