An estimated 30 million Americans are affected by chronic kidney disease (CKD) and most do not even know they have it. This newest data comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) CKD Surveillance Program and is higher than previous estimates. This reflects that 1 in 7 Americans have CKD and that most of it is going untreated. This should serve as a warning alarm that we need changes to our healthcare system to promote and improve earlier detection and treatment of CKD and to invest greater Federal dollars in public awareness and programs that address this largely ignored public health challenge.
An estimated 1 in 3 Americans are at risk of CKD due to diabetes and hypertension. Early detection and treatment can delay or prevent progression to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and potentially reduce risk of cardiovascular events and death in those with CKD. However, our health care dollars and our system is focused predominately on treatment of ESRD. An additional and equal focus on addressing CKD early on is needed. Earlier detection and treatment also allows those that will ultimately progress to ESRD the opportunity to receive education on treatment options, including opportunities to avoid dialysis by receiving a pre-emptive transplant or electing to do dialysis at home.
The National Kidney Foundation is committed to engaging key policy makers, health insurers, and health care professionals on specific solutions to address this public health challenge. These include:
- Promoting CKD early detection, treatment, and awareness within public programs and initiatives that focus on diabetes, hypertension and heart disease
- Aligning health insurance reimbursements to clinicians with improved early detection and treatment of CKD in those at risk and with the disease.
- Creating greater opportunities for patients who progress to ESRD to receive a kidney transplant
- Investing Federal dollars into research and programs that tackle this substantial public health challenge
Will you join us in our effort to make CKD a public health priority?