The number of Americans living with chronic kidney disease (CKD) might be higher than previously estimated, with new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now pointing to 30 million adults affected by the CKD in the United States.
This is the equivalent to 15 percent of the adult population, or one in seven Americans 18 and older. However, a CDC infographic shows that 96 percent of those with early kidney disease don’t know they have it, and of those with severely impaired kidney function but not on dialysis, 48 percent aren’t aware they have the disease either.
The study analyzed adults with CKD stages from mild (1) to severe (5) and used data from the 2011-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and the CKD Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) equation to develop the new estimates.
The CDC infographic further shows that CKD affects 16 percent of women and 13 percent of men. However, men are 64 percent more likely to progress into end-stage renal disease (ESRD). People at this stage need constant dialysis or a transplant in order to stay alive, due to complete kidney shutdown.
In addition, an estimated 15 percent of Hispanics have CKD, and ESRD is 35 percent more likely to be diagnosed in Hispanics than non-Hispanics. CKD is also more common in non-Hispanic blacks (18 percent) than in non-Hispanic whites (13 percent).
The increasing CKD numbers might be related to a series of factors including time frames, different methodologies, different populations analyzed and age differences, as well as an actual increase in the prevalence of CKD or other risk factors for CKD, like diabetes or hypertension.
“Let these new statistics from CDC serve as a warning bell that a major public health challenge is right in front of our eyes and more must be done to address it,” Kevin Longino, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation and a kidney transplant patient himself, said in a press release. “Additional federal resources must be allocated towards increasing public awareness about the disease and advancing programs targeted towards prevention and early detection. Leaders in the healthcare industry also need to prioritize CKD for the costly, impactful disease that it is. The earlier we can diagnose someone with kidney disease, the better their long-term outcomes.”
The National Kidney Foundation adds that diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history remain the top risk factors for kidney disease.