Campaign will target 'silent killer' salt on Kidney Day
With some eight million Thais suffering from kidney disease and at risk of fatal complications, the Public Health Ministry will launch a week-long campaign from Monday at state hospitals nationwide to warn Thais against their addiction to sodium-laced salty food.
Sodium has been called "a silent killer" because prolonged over-consumption can damage the kidneys within a span of 5 to 10 years. Thais on average consume double the recommended intake of a teaspoon (2,000 milligrams) per day.
Deputy permanent secretary for public health Sopon Mekthon, along with the Nephrology Society of Thailand and related agencies, yesterday hosted a press conference for the "March 14 World Kidney Day" campaign, which will culminate in an event at CentralWorld on March 17. The campaign aims to get people to eat 50-per-cent less salty food and also sodium-laced products such as seasoning, which often don't not taste salty.
About 17.5 per cent of Thais, or eight million people, suffer from kidney disease - 60 per cent of which stems from diabetes and high blood pressure, which in turn affects 15 million people. Other causes of kidney disease are ureteric stones, kidney infection, prolonged use of painkillers, and lupus infection. Each year sees 7,800 new kidney patients in Thailand. Many need life-saving dialysis while they wait for a kidney implant. Some 40,000 patients in Thailand are in the last phase of the disease and now need kidney implants, at a cost of Bt200,000 per patient. A lack of donors, however, means that only 400 patients undergo kidney-implant surgery per year, leaving many forced to prolong their life via haemodialysis or continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis.