The main causes of kidney diseases in Nigeria explained- Dr Chimezie Okwuonu

This is a question that people keep asking these days. The rate at which kidney disease is affecting people, killing and rendering some homes poor is really alarming.  What really causes kidney disease is around us. Some of them are preventable, while others are not. 



The common causes of kidney disease in Nigeria include

ü  Hypertension           

ü  Diabetes

ü  Long-standing inflammation to kidneys

ü  Herbal concoctions

ü  HIV infection

ü  Prostate enlargement

ü  Genetic causes

ü  Sickle cell disease

ü  Use of bleaching soaps and creams

ü  Connective tissue disease

ü  Unknown causes

 Hypertension or high blood presure: High blood pressure can cause kidney disease and kidney disease can cause a high BP. High BP is the commonest cause of kidney disease in Nigeria. With high blood pressure, the small arteries in the body including the kidneys get damaged and can lead to kidney disease.


Diabetes or high blood sugar: This is another prominent cause of kidney disease all over the world. Within 5-15 years of diabetes, the high blood sugar causes some damage to the small arteries in the body including those in the kidneys. Proteins may start leaking from the blood into the urine causing excessive foaming of the urine. This continues until the person develops full kidney disease

Long-standing inflammation: During adolescent ages and into early adulthood, some people develop recurrent inflammation to a part of the kidney called glomerulus. This inflammation may be due to micro-organisms or other toxins. This goes on quietly until it manifests as kidney failure. This is the commonest cause of kidney disease in the young.

Consumption of herbal concoctions: This is on the increase in our environment nowadays. Claims of multiple disease cure, affordability, regular awareness and trade fairs have drawn it closer to people more than before. Some of these herbal mixtures or concotions are unlicensed as medications, do not have shelf life and doses cannot be easily determined. The claims of cure cannot be proven scientifically and the side effects are rarely mentioned. Many of them damage kidney tubes and cause kidney failure.

Genetic causes: There are some kidney disease that can be inherited from ones parents. Unfortunately the technology at our disposal in this environment in Nigeria may not allow us detect it earlier. The speed of development of kidney disease can be slowed by some medications. There are promising research findings to handle this at early stages

Prostate enlargement: When the prostate in males enlarges, it becomes difficult to urinate freely. Some of the urine may flow back to the kidneys and can damage the kidneys

Bleaching Cosmetics: Some of the bleaching soaps and creams contain mercury. Mercury bleaches the skin, and at the same time penetrates through the blood vessels to enter the blood and cause injury to body organs including the kidneys.

Unknown causes: There are some cases of kidney disease whose cause is unknown to us within the limits of our technology. With further improvement in technology, those causes will become clearer to us.

Awareness of these causes of kidney disease and prevention of them (where possible) can surely help in avoiding developing kidney disease.


Sponsored by Beatitudes Kidney Foundation

26 Ezeogbulafor street, off Finbarrs road Umuahia Abia State Nigeria- 08038896801

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