Unhealthy food blamed for rising kidney ailments in RP

By Sara Fabunan – THE Philippines may be far from the current health nightmare in China, where melamine-tainted milk food is being blamed for the alarming rash of kidney problems in infants and children. Still, authorities are upset by a perceptible rise in the number of Filipino children found to have abnormalities in urine tests and with multiple complications or recurring infections.

Screening for urine under the Renal Disease Control Program (Redcop) among 6 million public-school children nationwide found that around 1.3 million, or 24 percent, had “significant” urine problems.

Health Undersecretary Dr. Jade del Mundo traced the rising incidence of kidney problems mostly to unhealthy food that most pupils eat—junk and processed food and carbonated drinks.

“There are also lots of obese children prone to metabolic syndromes like high blood sugar, high cholesterol and high blood [pressure]—and if these complications pass through the kidney, this can really cause some kidney malfunctions,” he said in an interview.

If these metabolic syndromes increase, the number of kidney-stone problems will also increase.

Based on the Philippine Renal Disease Registry Annual Report 2008, a worrisome 41 percent of the population has diabetes, 24 percent have inflammation of the kidneys and 22 percent have high blood pressure.

“It is clear from statistics that if the problems of diabetes, hypertension and kidney infections and other operational problems are not attended to, the magnitude of kidney problem we will be facing in the future will overwhelm us, our facilities, resources and health system,” he said.

Redcop department manager Dr. Remedios Uriarte said that infection due to bacteria, viral infections and congenital anomalies are common ailments among children that can lead to kidney diseases.

“Sometimes, you don’t know that a simple sore throat caused by beta-amiotic streptococcus bacteria may affect the kidney. This disorder [could] damage the kidneys, causing them to leak large amounts of protein from the blood into urine,” she explained.

She added that most children having the disease are children aged five to seven years old.

Aside from soar throat, infections on wounds, urinary and skin infections may cause inflammation in the kidney.


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