kidney health

According to the National Kidney Foundation, chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 37 million people, or 15 percent, of adults in the United States.  Diabetes and high blood pressure are responsible for two-thirds of cases. The condition is usually asymptomatic until its advanced stages. Unfortunately, many people don’t know they have chronic kidney disease until it progresses.

A new study by Stanford Medicine researchers finds that screening individuals, 35 years and older, would increase life expectancy and save dollars. In addition to early screening, adding sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors were found to slow the progression of kidney disease. Screening for CKD involves testing for albuminuria, the presence of albumin, a type of protein, in urine. Its presence in urine is an indicator of kidney disease.  

“CKD is often clinically silent until patients reach late-stage kidney disease, so many people with early-stage CKD are unaware they have it,” said Marika Cusick, a PhD candidate in health policy at Stanford Medicine and lead author of the study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. “By screening for CKD, we can diagnose and treat it at an earlier stage, improving life expectancy and reducing the risk of progressing to late-stage kidney disease, which is deadly and costly.” 

The authors assessed costs, quality-adjusted life years and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios. They found that screening, in addition to using SGLT2 inhibitorsthe 158 million persons, aged 35 to 75 years in the United States, would prevent the need for dialysis or kidney transplant in 398,000 to 658,000 individuals during their lifetime, depending on the frequency of screening.

Advanced kidney disease harms the health of Americans, places burdens on families and caregivers, and is extremely costly for the health care system to manage,” said Jeremy Goldhaber-Fiebert, PhD, professor of health policy and senior author of the study. “This analysis shows that, while it is a substantial undertaking, screening to detect chronic kidney disease before it advances and providing effective new treatments improves health and represents good value for the money and resources used.”

Access the Stanford Medicine article to learn more about the study; Screening everyone 35 and older for chronic kidney disease would save lives

Visit the Great Plains QIN Chronic Disease Management for additional CKD tools and resources. 

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Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)…Could you have it and not know it?: The kidneys filter waste and excess fluid from the blood. As kidneys fail, waste builds up. Symptoms of chronic kidney disease develop slowly; some people have no symptoms at all and are diagnosed by blood and urine tests. Learn what you can do to help prevent CKD and lower your risk for kidney failure.

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