Sierra Leone News: Today is World Kidney Day…My encounter with kidney disease – patient explains

28 years old Mariatu Sesay (not her real name) is a patient that has been suffering from acute kidney failure. She had several complications and had gone through several tests, scanning and x-ray to determine the cause of her aliment.
She says she started noticing abnormalities in her body on 8th December 2016. This came after she had taken two 100 gram each of Declofenace on the 7th as “I was feeling severe pain all over my body. Since then I started experiencing swelling on my feet, stomach, eyes, hands and other parts of my body.”
Continuing her ordeal, Mariatu said “I was immediately rushed to the 34 Military Hospital where I was admitted for few days… my situation never improved. Days past leading to a week. I became weaker and It was even getting worst. At this point, my body became hard, one could pierce my skin with any instrument I will not feel. My eyes became bulgy and all red, I almost lost my speech.”
“It was at this point that I was asked by Dr Kanu to go for tests at the ECOMED. When the result came out, the doctor immediately referred me to Connaught Hospital where I was admitted and referred to Dr. Soccoh Kabia.”
Kidney disease means that the kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood like they should. This damage can cause wastes to build up in the body. It can also cause other problems that can harm your health.
This year’s theme is ‘kidney and obesity’ and it is meant to highlight the relationship between obesity and kidney disease.
Why Are the Kidneys So Important?
The kidneys are powerful chemical factories that perform the following functions:
*remove waste products from the body
*remove drugs from the body
*balance the body’s fluids
*release hormones that regulate blood pressure
*produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones
*control the production of red blood cells
Sierra Leone’s only Nephrologist Dr Soccoh Kabia explained there are two kidneys. Each kidney contains up to a million functioning units called nephrons. This nephron consists of a filtering unit of tiny blood vessels called a glomerulus attached to a tubule. When blood enters the glomerulus, it is filtered and the remaining fluid then passes along the tubule. In the tubule, chemicals and water are either added to or removed from this filtered fluid according to the body’s needs, the final product being the urine we excrete.
He said that there are several factors which can lead to kidney failure and these include, Diabetes which is the leading cause of kidney disease, High blood, Urinary tract infections which often affect the bladder, but they sometimes spread to the kidneys, and drugs and toxins can also cause kidney problems. Using large numbers of over-the-counter pain relievers for a long time may be harmful to the kidneys. “For Mariatu’s case, it was the use of the drugs that damaged her kidney” the Dr said.
Mariatu went on “During this period I had lost appetite; always vomiting, even if I sip water. So they had to put me on continuous ‘IV.’ I could not fill the Urine bag, because I was not urinating neither was I passing faeces (stool).”
“Dr. Kabia said all these are signs of acute kidney disease. The signs include decreased urine production, body swelling, nausea and vomiting.”
After two days of continued tests, scans, and x-rays, Mariatu said “Dr Soccoh Kabia finally informed me that I have developed kidney problem. The doctor disclosed that I needed three dialysis procedures to get me back to normal.”
There are different stages of kidney failure its ranges from 1-5. The Nephrologist said “Stage one being the least serious and 5 are those whose kidneys have failed completely. This is done to be able to categorise people and also guide in the treatment and care of patient with kidney failure.  A person with this disease needs greater attention and more aggressive treatment in order to forestall possibility of progressing that often might lead to End Stage kidney disease which needs dialysis.”
“She was in stage 5 when I found her that was why she needed dialysis. Her status was acute kidney failure with underlining chronic.”
28 years old Mariatu Sesay disclosed “I had spent almost a month when I was asked to go through the procedure and I did my first session on 24th December.” She laughed and said “I was hoping to celebrate my holidays with my husband and kids but fate did not allow me; but I was hopeful that my condition will change.”
After her second session on Christmas day, joyfully Mariatu said “I started urinating and passing faeces. It was then that I came to realise the importance of the dialysis unit, and then I started gaining hope, because I now believed that God is going to see me through. Even though I was not completely ok, as my body was still swollen, I still believed that it will be well. It was on the 8th of February that my body returned to normal.”
Dr.  Kabia confirmed that “with the care and treatment she received Mariatu’s situation improved, all we have to do now is to protect her kidney. For now she does not need dialysis at all.”
Mariatue is happy for the Dialysis Unit so is Dr Soccoh Kabia as it helps to prevent Sierra Leoneans from travelling abroad for a dialysis session and some without money end up losing their lives.
However Mariatu called on government to reduce the cost of the procedures so that more Sierra Leoneans especially the poor can benefit from the service.By Betty Milton

By Betty Milton
Awoko Thursday, March 09, 2017

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