Undiagnosed Kidney Disease Is A Serious Threat To People With Type 2 Diabetes

Dawn Papple - Author

Dec. 29 2014, Updated 6:20 p.m. ET

Diabetes is the most prevalent primary cause of kidney failure, according to statistics from the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, which is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Unfortunately for type 2 diabetics, a mere 12 percent of people with this form of diabetes who are plagued by chronic kidney disease (CKD) are actually properly diagnosed with this kidney disease, according to a recent study from the National Kidney Foundation.

The cross-sectional study from the Kidney Foundation was published in PLOS Medicine.

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The study involved over nine thousand patients with type 2 diabetes in the United States. Just over five thousand patients had “urine protein excretion and eGFR,” according to Medical News Today, and therefore should have been diagnosed with some stage of kidney disease. Unfortunately, the researchers learned that only 12.1 percent of them had ever been diagnosed with CKD by their own doctors.

“This research underscores the urgency of testing at-risk populations for kidney disease,” Dr. Joseph Vassalotti said. Vassalotti is the Chief Medical Officer of the National Kidney Foundation. “We are missing important opportunities to prevent kidney failure, dialysis and cardiovascular events in those most at risk.”

According to the researchers, as the kidney disease in people progressed, the likelihood of being properly diagnosed went up, but the correct diagnosis was still missed in 47.1 percent of patients that had already developed stage-four CKD.

The research team even examined the details of the clinicians that were responsible for diagnosing the CKD in the type 2 diabetes sufferers, but according to Medical News Today, no differences were noted. There was no noticeable difference between experiences, patient caseloads or the settings of the medical practices.

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“This shows we need clearer and simpler messages for both primary care clinicians and patients regarding the importance of screening for chronic kidney disease in people with diabetes,” the University at Buffalo’s Dr. Chester Fox explained of the type 2 diabetes study. “We want to use these data to draw attention to the simple fact that recognizing kidney disease and performing simple steps may keep people off dialysis.”

“We can increase the awareness, prevention and management of chronic kidney disease in people living with diabetes by identifying CKD in its earliest stages,” Dr. Vassalotti explained, according to the National Kidney Foundation. “Only by working closely with primary care clinicians to understand their workflow, can we enhance care for people with CKD.”

Because of these findings, officials at the National Kidney Foundation is launching two initiatives. All patients involved with the KEEP Healthy screening program will now have access to urine tests which will point out early warning signs of kidney disease. In addition, the National Kidney Foundation’s Primary Care Initiative will help doctors be of greater help to patients with type 2 diabetes. With this program, doctors will help patients with type 2 diabetes who show early signs of kidney disease make lifestyle changes and learn which medications they will need to avoid in order to best protect their kidneys.

[Photo via Pixabay]


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