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Malnutrition, major cause of kidney disease – expert

Chimezie Okwuonu a medical doctor and founder of Beatitudes Kidney and Eye Foundation, a nonprofit organisation, says malnutrition remains a leading cause of death among kidney disease patients in Nigeria. Okwuonu, who is also a nephrologist, stated this in Aba, Abia State during a seminar organised by the foundation.

He disclosed that more than one third of kidney disease patients in Nigeria die of malnutrition because of misinformation about dietary intake and kidney disease management. He noted that he had discovered that most kidney disease patients relied on the internet or public opinion for nutritional recommendation, which usually resulted in severe complications.

The nephrologist further said that the event was organised to address the numerous misconceptions associated with dietary intake for a kidney disease patient. He also said that the seminar was aimed at educating kidney disease patients on the need to seek advice about their diet from a dietician, who specialised in managing kidney disease patients.

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Okwuonu said: “Moving forward, we want to publish a book on dietary management for kidney disease patients, which would be given to our patients for free. We desire to circulate this piece of literature to all the SouthEastern states because we want kidney disease patients and their caregivers to be well informed.”

According to him, the major challenge people with kidney disease face is finance. Therefore, his outfit is offering free dialysis services to his patients until the end of this year.

Eunice Enyiocha, a nephrology nurse, described kidney disease as a progressive long-standing damage to the kidneys which could lead to minor and/or major disorders in the body. She disclosed that early detection and proper management were key in tackling the disease.

According to Confidence Solomon, a dietician, the importance of nutritional management in kidney care are enormous, because of their vital role in the overall health of the patient. “Nutritional management in the treatment of kidney disease is individualised, and requires an individual to seek the advice of a dietician for dietary recommendations suitable for the individual,” she said.

In separate interviews, some participants at the seminar expressed happiness over the information they received about proper dietary management for kidney disease patients. Conscience Nnaemelu, a civil servant, said that the information greatly addressed the various misconceptions she had had about dietary intake in kidney disease management. For Chiezie Orji, a businessman, he learnt that seeking expert advice and applying moderation in dietary intake were essential in kidney disease management.

The sensitization featured lectures, question and answer sessions, as well as free counselling for the participants.

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