CHENNAI: How well do you know your kidneys? Did you know that you need just a urine test to detect kidney-related ailments? Ahead of World Kidney Day on March 12, Tamil Nadu Kidney Research Foundation (TANKER) organised the TANKER Awareness and Prevention Programme at Madras Medical Mission Hospital on Sunday. Actor Aparna Gopinath was the chief guest. The event was presided over by Dr Georgi Abraham, founder trustee, TANKER Foundation; Latha Kumaraswami, managing trustee, TANKER Foundation; and Rajalakshmi Ravi, head, TANKER Awareness and Prevention. “Our awareness and prevention programme started in 2003.
We create awareness among the public through educational programmes, supported by a PowerPoint presentation to explain about kidneys, its functions, causes for failure, symptoms and management of the disease. Screening camps are conducted for the general public and also for the organised sector like private companies and government offices,” said Rajalakshmi. Men and women above 25 years of age are screened in this programme. The Body Mass Index (BMI), BP, Random Blood Sugar (RBS) and urine test for protein and glucose are checked as part of the programme. Based on the results, one is given appropriate advice from a doctor.
The theme for the day was Diet and Dialysis. Preethi KN, senior dietician, MMM Hospital, highlighted the proportion of food to be consumed, the importance of fitness and a healthy lifestyle to cope up with the dialysis process. “Malnutrition is common among patients undergoing dialysis. One must avoid extremities such as overeating or starving. A proper balance of micro and macronutrients is mandatory. The quantity and quality of food matters. Basic things such as drinking plenty of water, maintaining ideal body weight, avoiding alcohol and smoking matter a lot,” she said. One of the interesting initiatives of the TANKER Awareness and Prevention Program is its MoU with Indian Oil Corporation for the last two years.
“We screened 3,500 truck drivers from 20 locations that included LPG bottling plants and truck terminals in Tamil Nadu. They are more prone to these problems, and lack awareness,” said Rajalakshmi. TANKER is a registered nonprofit charitable trust started in June 1993 with the main aim of providing subsidised dialysis and financial assistance for the underprivileged with kidney disease. “Kidney disease shows no discrimination on the basis of age, sex, religion and status. The treatment is prolonged and e x p e n s ive, re n d e r i n g i t unaffordable to most patients in India. A great majority of people do not know much about kidney disease as it is an ailment without many signs or symptoms, and progressive if not detected early. The diseases are preventable,” said Latha Kumaraswami.