NHS crisis fears as the number of people needing life-saving dialysis treatment expected to quadruple over the next decade, kidney disease charity warns

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • It is needed when the kidneys fail and organs can’t remove toxins in the blood
  • Around 30,000 people currently need dialysis, rising to 143,000 by 2033 

The number of people requiring regular life-saving dialysis treatment on the NHS is expected to rise by nearly 400 per cent in the next decade, a leading kidney disease charity has warned.

The crucial blood-cleaning procedure is needed when the kidneys fail, meaning the organs can no longer remove dangerous toxins from the blood.

Currently about 30,000 adults and children require dialysis, which involves several trips to hospital each week to be hooked up to a machine for hours at a time. But according to Kidney Research UK, this figure is expected to rise to about 143,000 by 2033.

The charity has called on the NHS to take urgent action to catch chronic kidney disease early on to help limit the number of patients who will progress to the point where they require dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Currently about 30,000 adults and children require dialysis, which involves several trips to hospital each week to be hooked up to a machine for hours at a time

Chronic kidney disease occurs when the kidneys – which remove waste products from the blood and produce urine – no longer work as well as they should. It typically gets worse over time and the damage cannot be reversed.

The condition affects roughly 7.2 million Britons but is expected to rise by about 400,000 in the next decade – primarily driven by the increasing number of people with high blood pressure and obesity. Patients with high blood pressure and diabetes are most at risk of developing the disease.

Chronic kidney disease occurs when the kidneys ¿ which remove waste products from the blood and produce urine ¿ no longer work as well as they should

Chronic kidney disease occurs when the kidneys – which remove waste products from the blood and produce urine – no longer work as well as they should

Because there are often no early symptoms of chronic kidney disease, many patients will not be diagnosed until it has become severe. At this stage, they often require dialysis. However, late last year The Mail on Sunday revealed that 40 per cent of people with high blood pressure and diabetes are not offered a simple urine test by their GP which can identify kidney problems early on. Kidney Research UK is calling for GPs to ensure all patients considered at risk are offered the test.

The urine test checks for a protein called albumin which is filtered by the kidneys. A high amount of albumin is a sign the organs are not working properly.

‘Early detection of kidney disease is vital in order to slow progression and give patients the best quality of life possible,’ says Alison Railton, head of policy and external affairs at Kidney Research UK.

‘The Government and the NHS need to do more to ensure those at risk of developing chronic kidney disease are routinely tested.’

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