Minimal physical activity, unhealthy diet, smoking and drinking are some of the reasons that are resulting in an increased number of chronic kidney diseases - especially among women - in both rural and urban India.
With World Kidney Day celebrated March 8, doctors opined that immediate measures should be taken to the curb the rising numbers.
"Diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high uric acid are on the rise and kidney disease is very common in these metabolic conditions," said Jitender Kumar, Senior nephrologist and department Head, Nephrology, Asian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS).
Talking about the rise of kidney disease in women, Kumar said that the lifestyle among women is changing and an increasing number of metabolic disorders are affecting them-- not only in the higher strata but lower too.
"Consuming junk food and smoking is common among females today. Even in lower strata of society, smoking "beedis" and "hookahs" is rampant," said Kumar.
"Last year alone, we observed out of 1,200 deliveries, many women had high sugar, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and hypertension. Out of 11,000 dialysis done last year, around 40 percent were women patients."
Talking about preventive measures Sanjeev Saxena, Nephrologist, PSRI Hospital, said that there was low awareness in India about the disease and its preventive measures.
"In most cases, the disease is only identified at an advanced stage or end stage. It's important that people are aware and realize the importance of timely intervention," he said.
According to doctors, in India, estimates indicate that anywhere between 200,000 and 400,000 people develop end stage kidney disease (kidney failure) each year.
Agreed, Sunil Prakash, Nephrologist, BLK Superspeciality hospital: "Given the difficult circumstances, it's best to promote simple screenings such as urine and blood tests as well as ultrasound, particularly for patients with diabetes and hypertension."
"Timely diagnosis and treatment can most certainly delay and even prevent kidney failure, totally avoiding the need for troublesome dialysis," he added.
More and more Indians should donate their kidneys, expressed the doctors further.
"We should pledge to donate kidneys and give the gift of life to another human being in need, in face of acute shortage of kidney donors," said N.K. Pandey Pandey ,Chief Surgeon and Chairman and Managing Director, AIMS.
The National Kidney Foundation of India estimates that 100 people in a million suffer from kidney ailments in India and around 90,000 kidney transplants are required annually in India.
Since health insurance in India does not cover outpatient dialysis treatment, this can be an expensive affair for patients.