August 27thth, 2013
Members of the Nephrology Association revealed the data yesterday.
El Salvador has the highest death rate in the world due to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), according to data from The World Health Organization (WHO) with 51.8 deceased per 100,000 inhabitants, according to Rosales National Hospital’s nephrologist Zulma Cruz de Trujillo.
Salvadorian nephrologists who treat patients daily claim that the increase in cases has been prevalent over the past 15 years and that since 1999 independent studies suggest that the disease has caused a “dramatic social and economic impact on the families and health services”.
The disease affects the entire Pacific coast and has been named Mesoamerican Nephropathy (MeN) and is present from the volcanic chain of Chiapas, Mexico to the north of Panama.
2008 figures from WHO also detail that Nicaragua with 25.5 deceased and Honduras with 24.6 deceased per 100,000 inhabitants, respectively, are both top 10 countries with deaths related to the disease.
The data was revealed in a workshop organized by the Agricultural and Agro-industrial Chamber of El Salvador on updates about CKD.
60% of the people admitted in the Rosales National Hospital, according to hospital records from the Nephrology Unit, are renal patients waiting to receive dialysis and hemodialysis treatments.
Rosales’ nephrologist lamented that current health authorities took four years to conduct research on CKD to obtain results that national medical professionals had already obtained through independent investigations backed by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
The Association of Nephrology and Hypertension of El Salvador considers it inappropriate that the Ministry of Health (MINSAL) authorities attribute CKD solely to agrochemicals. For them, there is no scientific evidence that agrochemicals are either responsible or have contaminated the water, they stated. If that were the case all consumers would suffer the disease.
For traditional causes, specialists agree with MINSAL that diabetes and hypertension are the causes.
The association of nephrology specialists that work in the public and private sectors, and the social security administration consider that MINSAL specialists must focus their investigation on other causes, such as the effects of people residing close to the coastline, dehydration as a result of extended working hours on the cane fields and other crops.
Research needs to be conducted in the abuse of anti-inflammatory drugs and people who don’t consume water but instead drink sodas and artisanal products, and other substances offered for weight loss.
Factors such as height and lack of access to health services should also be taken into account, they emphasized.
Studies by the nephrologist Ramon Trabanino, recipient of the National Prize for Medical Research, have shown that the soil temperature in some areas of Bajo Lempa reach 131 degrees Fahrenheit and the farmers loose up to 10 pounds from dehydration during exhausting extended working hours.
Trabanino considers that kidney disease must be identified in its early stages, when people do not have symptoms through urine creatinine tests, where the quantity of proteins is measured.
Biopsies sent to Switzerland last year, as part of an investigation by Ricardo Leiva, head of the Nephrology Unit of Rosales Hospital, revealed that the patients’ kidneys have serious injuries.
By Loida Martinez Avelar, for La Prensa Gráfica – El Salvador
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