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Few Americans aware they have chronic kidney disease

Ten to 20 million people in the United States have chronic kidney disease but most don't know it, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Health Statistics. The findings are published in the January 2005 print editions of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology and on the journal's website.

Over the past decade the number of people with kidney failure doubled and the number starting dialysis or having a first kidney transplant increased by 50 percent, so that more than 400,000 Americans are now being treated for kidney failure at a cost of $25 billion annually. In contrast to these dramatic increases, the study found that the number of people with earlier stages of kidney disease remained stable, with 7.4 million people having less than half the kidney function of a healthy young adult and another 11.3 million consistently having protein in their urine. The researchers can't explain this paradox, but suggest that fewer patients may be dying and more may be progressing to dialysis faster.

"Given the high prevalence of chronic kidney disease, we need to increase awareness, diagnosis and treatment if we are going to reduce the rate of progression and complications. Most critical are control of diabetes and hypertension." said Josef Coresh, MD, PhD, lead author of the study and professor of epidemiology, medicine and biostatistics at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. Coresh and his colleagues estimated awareness of chronic kidney disease among 4,101 people in the United States from 1999 to 2000 and compared disease prevalence in those years with that from 1988 to 1994, when 15,488 people were surveyed. Data were from two National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys by NCHS of nationally representative, non-institutionalized adults.
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Contact: Tim Parsons
paffairs@jhsph.edu
410-955-6878
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
16-Dec-2004


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