It's Shocking! The High Number of Kidney Disease Patients Who Go Undiagnosed


In an analysis of data from 21 states, nearly 90% of type 2 diabetes patients had kidney disease that went undiagnosed, including the later stages. Diana Brixner, RPh, PhD, of the University of Utah, and colleagues reported at the National Kidney Foundation meeting. That shockingly high number is in line with several other studies that have shown large proportions of type 2 diabetic patients with undiagnosed kidney disease, according to Beth Piraino, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh and president of NKF.

Diabetes is a major risk factor for the development of kidney disease, but it often goes undiagnosed in primary care, despite recommendations to screen for markers of renal impairment.

As you may be aware, kidney disease is described as having five stages (1 to 5). Overall the researchers found that 50.7% of patients with type 2 diabetes had any stage of CKD; nearly a quarter (22%) were at a more advanced stage in their disease, ranking at stage 3 to 5. However, only 12.2% of the overall population with all stages of disease had been diagnosed. A slightly lower proportion (83.6%) of those with stage 2 to 5 disease had gone undiagnosed, and 76.1% of those in the latest stages of disease (3 to 5) never received a diagnosis of kidney disease despite their labs indicating otherwise.

In the sample, older patients (those over 65) and blacks had a higher prevalence of kidney disease, but there were no differences in rates of undiagnosed kidney disease across any subgroups, the researchers added. They concluded that undiagnosed kidney disease is common among patients with type 2 diabetes, especially among those who have early stages of the disease, and that future studies should look at "the impact of not recognizing renal impairment to understand the needs for proper screening for this population."

Piraino added that her organization has championed an awareness initiative to partner with primary care physicians in order to detect impaired renal function and kidney disease in this population. "It is recommended for type 2 diabetes that you do serum creatinine and albumin screening, but it is not being done enough," she said.

For further information on kidney disease visit, Kidney Coach.

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