Kidney disease

The main job of your kidneys is to remove toxins and excess water from your blood. Kidneys also help to control your blood pressure, to produce red blood cells and to keep your bones healthy.

Each roughly the size of your fist, kidneys are located deep in the abdomen, beneath the rib cage.

Your kidneys control blood stream levels of many minerals and molecules including sodium and potassium, and help to control blood acidity. Every day your kidneys carefully control the salt and water in your body so that your blood pressure remains the same.

Kidney failure or End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) is defined as a state when the kidneys do not function properly or sufficiently, leading to accumulation of waste products and toxic materials. When toxic wastes build up in the blood, they can cause irreversible damage to body cells, tissues and organs.

Kidneys that function below 20% of their required capacity, may need some form of renal replacement therapy (dialysis). Singapore has the fourth highest incidence of kidney failure in the world.

Causes of Kidney failure

Diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure) are the two leading causes of kidney failure. The incidence is alarming, with 1 in every 9 adult Singaporeans afflicted with diabetes and 1 in every 4 adult Singaporeans having high blood pressure. While the National Health Survey 2010 revealed that the prevalence of these chronic diseases has declined, the large absolute number of patients is a potential time bomb. About 60% of new cases of End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) were due to diabetes.