The theme for World Health Day this year is ‘Health for All’. Nephrologists all over Mumbai, and the Amar Gandhi Foundation, are appealing to homemakers to cut salt on World Health day. Women in particular, as the conscience keepers of society, can drive this awareness to their loved ones and play a key role in regulating India’s excessive salt consumption habit.
Indians face the double whammy, not only of increased prevalence, but also of developing chronic kidney disease at a younger age. Sadly, dialysis patients are getting younger.
“We are doing dialysis now a days in all groups of patients – very young to elderly age above 90. Two most common causes of chronic kidney disease at present include – high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus” laments Dr Bhupendra Gandhi, Chairman, Amar Gandhi Foundation, on the eve of World Heath Day.
Taking cognisance of this, the Health Ministry, in 2016, had announced that 2,000 new dialysis centres would be set up at district-level hospitals in the country by 2018.
Dr. Umesh Khanna, a senior nephrologist adds, “12% – 17% of Indians could have chronic kidney disease (SEEK Study). One of the ways of tackling this epidemic is to reduce salt intake in our diet, thereby reducing the incidence of high blood pressure in the society.
Elaborating on kidney problems in children, Dr. Hemal Shah, senior nephrologist said “Early detection is necessary for a healthy lifestyle in children to combat preventable kidney damage that may include acute kidney injury. Mothers are key to this process of encouraging children to lead healthy lifestyles. Our campaign #EkChammachKam is our message to encourage reduced salt consumption.”
Excess salt leads to higher blood pressure which is of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and cancer account for over 70% of all deaths.
Dr Hemal Shah suggests that making just a few changes towards salt reduction can go a long way:
Choose low-calorie, low salt diet over fried snacks during chai time. Have at least five servings of fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy products and nuts that are low in salt, instead of chips and samosas. Banish that salt shaker from the dinner table. Never add extra salt on top of your salads and other food preparations. Earlier this year, in March 2018, over 150 nephrologists from Mumbai joined hands with Mumbai Kidney Foundation and Amar Gandhi Foundation, launching “ek chammach kam” (One spoon less) campaign to raise awareness against high salt consumption by Indians and its adverse effect on kidneys. #EkChammachKam gained momentum with seer Sri Sri Ravishankar, and celebrated filmmaker Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra joining the same. Choreographer Saroj Khan joined the campaign on the eve of World Health day too.