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Many Americans Unaware They Have Chronic Kidney Disease

Those at risk for diabetes should be screened, researcher says

THURSDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- Among Americans with prediabetes and undiagnosed diabetes, millions may have chronic kidney disease and not know it, new research has found.

In the study, researchers looked at a nationally representative sample of about 8,200 people included in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found that 42 percent of those with undiagnosed diabetes had chronic kidney disease, similar to the 40 percent rate in people with diagnosed diabetes.

Only a small percentage of people with undiagnosed diabetes and chronic kidney disease knew that they had kidney disease, said study author Laura C. Plantinga, of the University of California, San Francisco.

She and her colleagues also found that nearly 18 percent of people with prediabetes had chronic kidney disease, according to the report scheduled to be published in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

The rate of chronic kidney disease among people without diabetes or prediabetes was about 11 percent, they noted.

"Based on these results, there may be a substantial number of individuals in the United States -- up to 13 million -- who have undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes and who already have signs of kidney damage and/or reduced kidney function," Plantinga said in a news release.

"Persons at risk for diabetes and their health-care providers should be aware that earlier screening for both diabetes and kidney disease may be warranted," Plantinga added. "Earlier screening would allow for appropriate, timely medical care to prevent further progression and poor outcomes."

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about chronic kidney disease.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Society of Nephrology, news release, March 25, 2010

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