MANILA - It was a surprise to many when on Thursday morning, news broke that former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, who on record was the third youngest chief executive, already passed away.
He made only rare public appearances since stepping down in 2016. But when he was in power from 2010 to 2016, Aquino had to deal with speculation about the state of his health. He was also known to be a smoker and was fond of drinking softdrinks.
In August 2019, he missed rites commemorating his father's death anniversary because he was sick.
Months later, his spokesperson said Aquino underwent a "scheduled check-up and a routine procedure" following rumors he underwent a heart procedure.
Contrary to reports of failing health, Aquino was "doing well," his spokesperson later said in January 2020.
On June 24, Aquino died due to renal disease secondary to diabetes, according to his family. He was 61.
Sen. Kiko Pangilinan on Friday bared that Aquino had a kidney malfunction in 2019 for which he was sent to the intensive care unit.
This was when his health started to deteriorate, Pangilinan noted, just after the 2019 general elections and before the pandemic reached the country.
Aquino also went through dialysis and angioplasty to prepare for his kidney transplant, former public works and highways secretary Rogelio Singson told Teleradyo.
The former president did not show he was in pain, said Miguel Abellada, one of Aquino's nephews. Abellada said they just had lunch together last Sunday.
The Aquino family said Noynoy died of renal disease secondary to diabetes.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, kidney failure takes place when kidney damage is severe and kidney function is very low.
Kidney failure treated with dialysis, a treatment that filter wastes and water from the blood, is called end-stage renal disease (ESRD), the agency said.
Government figures showed that diabetes, high blood pressure and glomerulonephritis were the leading causes of ESRD.
The Philippines' National Kidney and Transplant Institute said on its website that kidney diseases, especially ESRD, are already the seventh leading cause of death among the Filipinos.
"One Filipino develops chronic renal failure every hour or about 120 Filipinos per million population per year," it said.
The main symptom of kidney disorder is fluid retention or edema, the NKTI said.
Patients may have puffiness around the eyes, swelling in the feet and legs and water in the lungs leading to difficulty of breathing. Any change in urination and hypertension may also indicate kidney problem, it added.
To protect kidneys, the NKTI urged the public to get active, eat healthy diet, avoid smoking, drink lots of water and avoid excessive salt, and have annual physical check-up especially if with or with family history of hypertension, diabetes or renal failure.
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