Understanding kidney disease in children

WHEN it comes to kidney disorders, there is a general misconception of attaching the condition to older persons but this is not quite right, experts say as little children also have kidney challenges. Nephrologists explain Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) as the slow loss of kidney function over time and the final stages of this disease is referred to as end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

Based on statistics, children and adolescents with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in sub-Saharan Africa may have the worst outcomes globally. Barriers to management include late presentation, poor socioeconomic conditions, absence of medical insurance, limited diagnostic facilities and non-availability of chronic renal replacement therapy (RRT).

According to experts, pediatric kidney disease is any type of kidney disease that develops in children under the age of 19.

Kidneys in children as well as adults are important because they remove the extra fluids and waste from the body and help regulate blood pressure, ensure chemical balance and maintain the health of the bones.

The rates of CKD are substantially lower in children than adults, but the incidence of CKD is increasing steadily with poor and ethnic minority children disproportionally affected, experts say.

In 2014, a study to determine the incidence, aetiology, management and outcomes of paediatric ESRD in a tertiary hospital in Nigeria, was carried out by a team of paediatric nephrologists in the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan. Based on the findings of the study, the team of paediatric nephrologists concluded that the incidence of paediatric ESRD in Ibadan is higher than previous reports from sub-Saharan Africa.

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