Portiuncula Hospital doctor gives top health tips ahead of World Kidney Day

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A Consultant General Physician and Nephrologist at Portiuncula University Hospital has shared important health advice ahead of World Kidney Day which takes place tomorrow.

World Kidney Day is a global campaign to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys and Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), a common disease which an estimated 10% of adults suffer from.

In addition, kidney disease related mortality continues to increase yearly and is projected to be the fifth leading cause of death by 2040.

Dr Paul O’Hara at Portiuncula Hospital says the main job of your kidneys is to remove toxins and excess water and salts from your blood.

“Kidneys also help to control your blood pressure, produce red blood cells and keep your bones healthy,” he explains.

“Diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure are key risk factors for Chronic Kidney Disease.”

Dr O’Hara believes education is a key part of managing any chronic illness and kidney disease is no different.

“World Kidney Day allows us to highlight the importance of screening for CKD in high risk groups, including all patients with diabetes, obesity (Body Mass Index >30) and hypertension.

“I encourage everyone to protect their kidneys by stopping smoking, eating a healthy diet low in salt, exercising daily, having regular health checks for diabetes and high blood pressure and avoiding prolonged use of anti-inflammatory pain killers.

“In those with advanced kidney failure and who are suitable, transplantation remains the best treatment option. The act of organ donation is a life-saving event and everyone is encouraged to carry an organ donor card and discuss their wishes with their loved ones.”

Dr O’Hara started the Portiuncula Kidney Clinic in December 2021 to serve the needs of patients with kidney problems within the hospital catchment area, mainly East Galway and Roscommon and they deal with the entire spectrum of kidney conditions with referrals from both the hospital and GPs.

Patients with kidney transplants and those who are on haemodialysis are cared for in the main centre in Galway University Hospitals.

Clinical staff from the Portiuncula Kidney Clinic will hold an information awareness stand for patients in the outpatient department on World Kidney Day, Thursday 10 March from 9am.

Advanced nurse practitioners from the Cardiology and Diabetes clinics will also be available to raise awareness of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes as the leading causes of kidney disease in Ireland.