Sushma Swaraj’s hospitalisation once again highlights diabetes as common cause of kidney failure

External Affairs Minister admitted in AIIMS, Delhi, for treatment and is awaiting a transplant. In India, over 2 lakh new cases of end-stage kidney disease are registered each year

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced her hospitalisation on social media on November 16

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took Twitter by storm on Wednesday (November 16) morning when she announced about her kidney failure and hospitalisation.

Media reports say her longstanding diabetes status has led to kidney failure – a known complication of uncontrolled blood sugar levels. The minister is presently admitted at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) Hospital in Delhi.

Doctors say diabetes is one of the most common causes of kidney failure, accounting for nearly 30-40 per cent of new cases. In India, over 2 lakh new cases of end-stage kidney disease are registered each year.

“In the last few years, there has been a rapid rise in diabetics developing kidney problems. It is the Type II diabetes which is responsible as compared to Type I. The progression of the kidney problem in a Type II diabetic is also faster compared to Type I diabetics and is also more difficult to treat. At least 50 per cent of the patients requiring dialysis or transplant are diabetics,” said Dr Jatin Kothari, nephrologist, PD Hinduja hospital.

He said early diagnosis of Type II diabetes and proper lifestyle can help bring down kidney failure rate in diabetics. “We still see late detection of Type II diabetes. Sedentary lifestyle, high stress levels, unhealthy dietary habits are leading to high number of diabetes cases. A proper health care can bring down rising number of Type II diabetes,” said Dr ND Moulick, endocrinologist, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital (Sion).

She said diabetic should keep her / his blood sugar levels in control to prevent complications like kidney failure, nerve cell damage among others.

“If the blood pressure and diabetes are well controlled, incidence of kidney failure can come down to 40% of what it is today,” said Moulick.

Once the kidney fails, the person has to undergo dialysis regularly or advised kidney transplant. Doctors say kidney patients tend to get irritated and frustrated with the dialysis process as it is cumbersome and costly too. Up to four lakh patients suffer from chronic kidney end stage disease in India and only one per cent of patients get access to a kidney transplant.