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Chronic Kidney Disease Screening: Is It Worth It?

kidney drawing

Chronic kidney disease affects approximately one in eight Americans and some 82,000 die from it each year. Some scientists nonetheless are questioning whether screening for the illness makes sense.

In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers claim that blood and urine testing for chronic kidney disease may not be valuable because, for one thing, no clinical trials have ever established the effectiveness of such screening. There has also not been any clinical trials to determine whether routine monitoring for chronic kidney disease actually contributes to life expectancy.

Study leader Dr. Howard Fink told Reuters that his team’s review of existing research did not necessarily conclude that screening for chronic kidney disease is out of bounds. “The bottom line is that it’s uncertain,” he said, because of the lack of studies establishing either the benefits or harm of widespread screening.

Fink also pointed that false positives sometimes occur in such testing could also lead to needless and possibly invasive testing, which drives up the costs of healthcare even more. Moreover, Fink says, “only a small percentage of people with early [kidney] disease will actually progress to end-stage kidney failure.” Once that occurs, dialysis or a kidney transplant become the primary options.

It is interesting to note that the area between the kidneys in the lower back is considered an important energy center in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is called the Ming Men, or “life gate.”

The kidneys are critically important organs that filter out toxins from the body. Risk factors for chronic kidney disease include high blood pressure and diabetes.

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2 Responses to “Chronic Kidney Disease Screening: Is It Worth It?”

  1. David Moskowitz

    Dr Fink works at the VA. I suppose it makes perfect sense for a VA physician to say there's no point in screening for kidney disease. After all, it was the VA which fired me in 1998 for having found a treatment that reverses 90% of kidney failure if caught early. Here's that story: If the VA had embraced my cure instead, a million Americans would not have died prematurely on dialysis. Not to mention all the rest overseas.

    It's incredible to watch the disinformation campaign continue. Do people realize they're suddenly bringing in $100K/yr for theirs doctor, dialysis unit, and hospital once they're on dialysis? Do they also realize the average life expectancy on dialysis is only 3 yrs?

    If you happen to have diabetes or high blood pressure (or both) and still have more than half your kidney function left, please contact; we can keep you off the kidney machine. If you've lost more than half, it's too late. I know of no better argument for early screening for kidney failure. By the way, anybody can do it: just get your serum creatinine checked. People should know their creatinine as much as their cholesterol. And the National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP), an office within the NIDDK, one of the Institutes inside the NIH, should have been leading this effort for the past decade, if not longer.

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