Friday, 12 April 2013

Depression in South Asian patients with kidney disease

Kidney dialysis image 
courtesy of bejim at 
FreeDigitalPhotos.net
People from several black and minority ethnic (BME) groups are at a significantly increased risk of developing kidney disease than the general UK population – and for South Asian people this risk is up to five times greater.  This is because they are more likely to have diabetes and high blood pressure – both of which are common causes of kidney disease.

Living with kidney disease significantly affects the lives of patients as well as their family and friends.  The treatment regimen is taxing and includes dialysis, fluid and dietary restrictions and taking medication. Unsurprisingly, patients often report stress associated with illness including fear over the future, change in work and family roles, restriction on time, to name but a few concerns. At times, the pressures seem overwhelming – such that depression is common in patients with kidney disease.  Depression is problematic in kidney disease since research suggests that outcomes for patients are poor, including increased likelihood of medical complications and higher risk of early death.

Dr Shivani Sharma

Dr Shivani Sharma, from the University’s School of Life and Medical Sciences, has been awarded a grant from the British Renal Society in collaboration with the British Kidney Patient Association to investigate the psychological distress of South Asian patients whose mode of communication is primarily, or exclusively, in Gujarati, Punjabi, Urdu or Bengali. This project recognises that a considerable number of people being treated for kidney disease in the UK are from a South Asian background and often have limited or no English language skills. Little is known about how depression affects patients from a South Asian background. It is hoped that the project will shed light on improving access to psychological support for patients from specific BME groups.

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