Kidney Crisis in the South Asian Community

Kidney Crisis

A free event, Sunday 11 September at 15:30 – 17:30 in the JSB Lecture Theatre, University of Bradford.

Chronic kidney disease is currently on the rise in Bradford, mainly as a result of diet and lifestyle choices that lead to high blood pressure and diabetes, both key risk factors for chronic kidney disease. Having high blood pressure nearly triples the risk of developing chronic kidney disease and having diabetes increases the risk 12-fold. Chronic kidney disease is a progressive condition which can ultimately lead to end stage kidney failure, a fatal condition requiring lifesaving dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Currently, the best treatment for end stage kidney failure is a transplant. South Asians are three times more likely to require a kidney transplant, yet only around 1% of the 18 million people on the NHS Organ Donor Register are from the South Asian community. As transplant s are more successful if the donor is from the same ethnic group it means that the average waiting time for a life-saving organ for South Asian patients is more than doubled compared with other patients. To prevent unnecessary deaths from kidney failure it is essential that this ‘donor gap’ is closed.

Dr Robin Jeffrey, Consultant Nephrologist at the Renal Unit at St Luke’s Hospital, Bradford, will begin the event by discussing science behind kidney function and kidney disease. He will then explain the risk factors and treatment options, focusing on the kidney transplant. He will describe the different ways in which kidneys can be obtained, how they are allocated to recipients and how the ‘donor gap’ arises within the South Asian community. He said:

“The purpose of the event is to stimulate debate on the whole area of kidney donation and the difficulties faced by the patients with kidney failure waiting for a transplant. At the moment, South Asian patients will have to continue to wait for an organ twice as long as other patients unless something changes.”

The event will include real life stories from donors and recipients as well as an outline of the local picture in Bradford by Jayne Fisher, the Organ Donor Co-ordinator for Bradford and surrounding areas. This will be followed by an opportunity for the audience to engage in discussions with an expert panel consisting of medical staff, religious scholars and patients to explore the potential barriers to transplantation in the South Asian community and to discover whether they can be overcome. Dr Liz Carpenter, the event organiser and a senior lecturer in medical physiology at the University of Bradford, said:

“The decision to become an organ donor is a personal one and may depend on a number of factors including cultural norms and religious beliefs. I hope that this event will give people the opportunity to explore the possibility of becoming a donor by taking part in discussions that will allow them examine the nature of these factors in detail. And of course, it would be fantastic if the event could contribute in some way to reducing the waiting time for life-saving organs in Bradford”.

The event will also provide an opportunity to discuss the issues raised with members of our expert panel in a more informal setting.  It will also be possible to join the NHS Organ Donor Register and there will be an organ donation exhibition stand in the Atrium on Sunday 11 September where it will also be possible to sign the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Because early detection can slow chronic kidney disease progression and because prevention is better than cure, Dr Liz Carpenter has also organised a health promotion stand in the Atrium on Sunday 11 September in conjunction with the Blood Pressure Association Know Your Numbers! campaign where you can have your blood pressure taken free of charge. You can also obtain advice on how to make healthier lifestyle choices to reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure, and therefore also the risk of kidney disease, stroke and heart attacks. Currently, one in three people in the UK have high blood pressure and a third of those individuals are unaware of it. Dr Liz Carpenter said:

“High blood pressure is often known as the ‘silent killer’ because it is frequently symptomless and can therefore go undetected for a long time, only becoming apparent when it has caused other more serious health problems such as chronic kidney disease, a stroke or heart attacks. The good news is that if it is caught early, it is possible to take action to reduce it to healthier levels, thereby reducing your risk of developing related complications. At our health promotion stand you can have your blood pressure checked free of charge and get advice on what to do to maintain a healthy blood pressure.”

The Kidney Crisis in the South Asian Community event is free of charge and is on Sunday 11 September 15:30-17:30 in the John Stanley Bell Lecture Theatre in the Richmond Building at the University of Bradford. Please book your place using the British Science Festival booking number 0845 6807 207, or online at http://www.britishsciencefestival.org

The health promotion and organ donation exhibition stands will be in the Richmond Building Atrium at the University of Bradford on Sunday 11 September.  No booking required.