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Not Enough Data to Support Kidney Disease Screening, Task Force Says

MONDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Too little evidence exists to determine the potential benefit and harms of screening all adults for chronic kidney disease, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

The task force noted that this recommendation applies only to adults who do not have symptoms of chronic kidney disease and have not been diagnosed with it. It does not apply to people who have diabetes or high blood pressure.

Chronic kidney disease is most common in people with diabetes and high blood pressure and testing for it is an ongoing part of care and treatment for people with these conditions, the task force noted.

About 11 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 and older have some degree of chronic kidney disease, mostly in mild to moderate stages, according to the task force.

"While mild abnormalities in kidney function are very common in the United States, we know surprisingly little about whether screening adults with no signs or symptoms of chronic kidney disease will improve health outcomes," task force member Dr. Joy Melnikow said in a task force news release. "We also need to learn more about how best to identify chronic kidney disease."

In its recommendation, the task force also called for further research to fully assess the benefits and harms of screening for chronic kidney disease.

"Clinicians and patients deserve better information on chronic kidney disease. We hope that our statement will lead to further research on how best to identify this condition, and whether screening will reduce future serious kidney disease," Melnikow said.

The task force recommendation is published online Aug. 28 in the Annals of Internal Medicine and on the task force's website.

An independent group of national experts in disease prevention, the task force makes recommendations about clinical preventive measures, such as screenings, counseling and medications.

More information

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

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, news release, Aug. 27, 2012

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