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Kidney disease: thousands at risk

Thousands of people in danger of developing kidney disease (CKD) remain unaware that they are at risk

Thousands of people in danger of developing kidney disease (CKD) remain unaware that they are at risk.

A survey commissioned by Kidney Research UK, found that 80% of those questioned, with health problems more likely to lead to kidney disease, were not aware they could be at risk.

Kidney disease, is more prevalent in people with high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, yet despite this fact, it often it gets left unmonitored.

‘Early attention to diet and lifestyle, and – where needed – appropriate medications, can prevent or delay progression of CKD in those most at risk,’ said Liz Lightstone, Professor of Renal Medicine at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London.

‘Symptoms are uncommon until damage is advanced. Sadly many people remain completely unaware of their risk and only find out when there is irreversible damage and people are then completely reliant on dialysis of a transplant to stay alive, neither of which are easy.’

Up to 40% of people with diabetes will develop kidney disease, so regular monitoring, at least annually, is recommended.

High blood pressure can also lead to kidney damage or be a sign of kidney disease and multiple urine infections can cause kidney scarring, especially in children, which may result in reduced kidney function. Only 54% of people with diabetes and less than a third of people with high blood pressure are offered urine tests to diagnose CKD.

‘it’s so simple to get a kidney check – your GP just needs to check your blood pressure, your kidney function (through a blood test) and dip check your urine to see if there is blood or protein present,’ added Professor Lightstone. ‘If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart or circulation problems, or a family history of kidney troubles, please ask to have a kidney health check.’