Too much painkillers can hurt the kidney

For the past seven years, Madam Koo Kwee Hway took painkillers to soothe the persistent pain she felt in her knee joints.

The 73-year-old retiree has undergone two operations on both her knees since then, and, in their wake, she was prescribed even more painkillers.

What happened next stumped her. She began to notice blood in her urine and was diagnosed with acute kidney injury. She was told that her condition was a result of taking the painkillers. She then had to undergo dialysis and made some progress.

Speaking in Mandarin, she told My Paper yesterday: "I felt a lot of pain then, but I'm fine now."

Now she "does not dare" to consume any painkiller.

Dr Rajat Tagore, director of renal service at JurongHealth, flagged her case as a typical case of acute kidney injury.

Dr Tagore was speaking to reporters at an exhibition at Alexandra Hospital held to raise awareness of acute kidney injury. The event was held in conjunction with World Kidney Day yesterday.

Other causes of the condition include consumption of some herbal substances, dehydration and kidney stones.

Dr Tagore added that, based on international estimates, 20 per cent of patients admitted to hospital for acute kidney injury died subsequently.

He said: "We need to raise awareness of this condition, as it is easily preventable."

He advises Singaporeans to go for check-ups regularly, as the condition can be discovered through simple blood tests. "While it is definitely treat- able, depending on its severity, it may or may not be curable."

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