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World Kidney Day 2019: Chronic kidney disease on the rise in Cayman

It is World Kidney Day (March 14) and chronic kidney disease is on the rise in Cayman.

To combat the so-called silent killer, the Health Services Authority hosted free screenings for members of the public Thursday (14 March) morning.

“About 12 years ago we had about 20-something patients on dialysis, but today, we have up to 64, 65 patients on dialysis,” said Dr. Nelson Iheonunekwu, better known to patients as ‘Dr. Nelson.’

Dr. Iheonunekwu said this three-fold increase is alarming, given Cayman’s population.

“For a population of 60,000, that is a significant amount of people who are on dialysis and also who have transplants, so it is quite common,” he said.

“The nurses in here make you very comfortable,” said dialysis patient Shelly Myles.

Ms. Myles credits dialysis for keeping her alive for almost nine years. She told Cayman 27 those with risk factors for chronic kidney disease shouldn’t wait for next year’s World Kidney Day to get screened.

“There’s a lot of people, especially in Cayman, there’s a lot of people that should be in here and they’re not here, and there should be more screenings done yearly,” said Ms. Myles.

Dr. Nelson said risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol problems, and family history of chronic kidney disease.

He said chronic kidney disease is sometimes called the silent killer because by the time symptoms present themselves, the disease is in its late stages.

“Early detection of chronic kidney disease offers you the opportunity to see whether you can reverse the kidney disease or you know, slow the progression to end stage,” said Dr. Iheonunekwu.

As Ms. Myles continues the long wait for a transplant, she shared her best advice for those who may not ‘know their numbers.’

“Go and get checked as soon as possible,” she said.

The HSA said 62 people took advantage of Thursday morning’s (14 March) free World Kidney Day screenings. That’s down from last year’s numbers, when 100 patients were screened.

About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at 324-2141 or send an email to

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