As Malaysians age, their risk of developing kidney disease increases. In fact, kidney disease is becoming more prevalent among Malaysians due to lifestyle changes, such as unhealthy diets and lack of exercise, as well as the aging population. However, the good news is that kidney disease can be detected early through screening tests, which can help prevent or delay the progression of the disease. In this article, we will discuss the essential screening tests for kidney health and aging that every Malaysian should know about.
Understanding Kidney Disease
Before we delve into the screening tests, let’s first understand what kidney disease is. The kidneys are two small organs located on either side of the spine that filter waste and excess fluids from the blood. When the kidneys are damaged, they can’t filter blood properly, which leads to a buildup of waste and fluids in the body. This can cause various health problems, including high blood pressure, anemia, and bone disease.
There are several types of kidney disease, but the most common ones are chronic kidney disease (CKD) and acute kidney injury (AKI). CKD is a long-term condition in which the kidneys gradually lose function over time, while AKI is a sudden and severe kidney injury that can be caused by various factors such as dehydration, infections, or medications.
Essential Screening Tests for Kidney Health and Aging
Screening tests are important for detecting kidney disease early, especially for those who are at risk. Here are some essential screening tests that every Malaysian should consider:
- Blood pressure measurement
High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of kidney disease. Therefore, regular blood pressure measurements are important for detecting high blood pressure and managing it to prevent kidney damage. The recommended blood pressure for adults is below 140/90 mmHg, but this may vary depending on the individual’s health condition.
- Blood and urine tests
Blood and urine tests can help detect early signs of kidney disease. A blood test can measure the level of creatinine in the blood, which is an indicator of kidney function. Meanwhile, a urine test can detect the presence of protein or blood in the urine, which can be a sign of kidney damage.
- Glomerular filtration rate (GFR)
GFR is a measure of how well the kidneys are filtering blood. It is calculated based on the level of creatinine in the blood, age, gender, and race. A GFR below 60 mL/min/1.73m2 for more than 3 months indicates CKD.
- Imaging tests
Imaging tests, such as ultrasound or CT scans, can help detect any abnormalities or blockages in the kidneys or urinary tract. These tests may be recommended if there are signs of kidney disease or if the blood and urine tests show abnormalities.
The Importance of Lung Health Screenings
Lung health screenings can be an essential tool for detecting smoking-related illnesses early, when they are more treatable. These screenings can also help identify individuals at high risk of developing smoking-related illnesses and provide them with the support and resources they need to quit smoking. Early detection and intervention can significantly improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs associated with smoking-related illnesses.
What Are Lung Health Screenings?
Lung health screenings are non-invasive tests that assess lung function and detect early signs of smoking-related illnesses, such as lung cancer and COPD. These screenings typically involve spirometry tests, chest x-rays, and low-dose CT scans.
Who Should Get Lung Health Screenings?
Individuals who smoke or have a history of smoking are at higher risk of developing smoking-related illnesses and should consider getting screened regularly. The American Lung Association recommends annual lung health screenings for individuals aged 55-80 who have a 30 pack-year smoking history (i.e., they have smoked one pack a day for 30 years, two packs a day for 15 years, etc.). However, individuals with a lower smoking history may still benefit from screening.
Who Should Get Screened?
The following individuals are at a higher risk of developing kidney disease and should consider getting screened:
- People with diabetes or high blood pressure
- Those with a family history of kidney disease
- Those over 60 years old
- Those with a history of heart disease or stroke
Kidney disease is a serious health issue that can affect anyone, but early detection through screening tests can help prevent or delay its progression. Blood pressure measurement, blood and urine tests, GFR, and imaging tests are essential screening tests that every Malaysian should consider, especially those who are at a higher risk of kidney disease. If you are unsure whether you need to get screened, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.