Results from a recent study show that the numbers of Americans with chronic kidney disease (CKD) has stabilized over the past decade, much as the number of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) cases in the U.S. has leveled off.
The data was presented during the ASN Kidney Week 2015, the largest nephrology meeting of its kind and a forum for over 13,000 health professionals to debate recent research findings and engage in educational sessions on advances in patient care for kidney and related diseases. This year’s Kidney Week was held in San Diego, California, on Nov. 3–8.
Chronic kidney disease is a long-term condition commonly detected at earlier stages by blood and urine tests, but one that often causes no noticeable symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage. The study was prompted by the recent stabilization reported in ESRD cases, said its investigators, led by Chi-yuan Hsu, MD, and Neil Powe, MD, FASN, from the University of California, San Francisco, working with investigators from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Michigan.
“CKD has been recognized as a major public health problem, associated with substantial morbidity, mortality and financial costs to the healthcare system,” said Dr. Hsu in a recent news release, adding, “which is why the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2020 initiative set a target of 10% reduction in CKD prevalence in the U.S. population.”
In the study, titled “Overall CKD Prevalence in the U.S. Has Stabilized in Recent Years,” researchers conducted a comparative analysis of data for the years 2003-04 and 2011–12, collected through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), including both overall CKD prevalence and prevalence stratified by sex, age, ethnicity/race, and diabetic status. “Our analysis of the most recent national data showed that the prevalence of stage 3–4 CKD in the United States has stabilized or decreased since the mid 2000’s,” said Dr. Hsu.
The promising trend may reflect that improvements in CKD care — better control of glycemia among diabetics and renin-angiotensin system blockade in patients with proteinuria (abnormal protein levels in urine) — are having positive effects, the investigators said.
While further studies are necessary to fully understand the reasons for these recent findings, Dr. Hsu recommended “nephrologists should take justifiable credit and pride in these impressive public health gains.”