For the current study, Burrows and her colleagues gathered data from the U.S. Renal Data System on anyone with diabetes who began end-stage renal disease treatment between 1990 and 2006.
The actual number of people with diabetes undergoing ESRD treatment has increased dramatically -- from 17,727 in 1990 to 48,215 in 2006. However, during that same time, the incidence of diabetes has also increased dramatically.
When the researchers controlled the data to account for the increase in people with diabetes, they found an initial period from 1990 to 1996 when the ESRD incidence increased from 299 people per 100,000 people with diabetes to 343 per 100,000.
But, from 1996 through 2006, the rate then dropped an average of 3.9 percent a year -- from 343 people per 100,000 people with diabetes to 197.7 per 100,000. In people under 45, the decline was even more dramatic, dropping 4.3 percent per year.
Burrows said there are skeptics who believe that because there are many people with newly diagnosed diabetes, and because ESRD usually develops 15 to 20 years after the onset of diabetes, this decline is only temporary. But Chaffer said he's hopeful the decline is real and stems from more aggressive intervention in early kidney disease.
"We recognize kidney disease earlier [now] and we're better able to manage diabetes and high blood pressure," he added.
Burrows said that the incidence of ESRD dropped across all racial groups, although the decline in the Hispanic population didn't reach statistical significance. "We may need some additional strategies for prevention in the Hispanic community," suggested Burrows. But, she added that because they didn't have as many years of data on Hispanics as they did for other races, it's also possible that the researchers just didn't have enough information to see a statistically significan
All rights reserved