This simple test may help detect chronic kidney disease

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 37 million U.S. adults have chronic kidney disease, although the vast majority do not know it.

In a recent study from Johns Hopkins, scientists found despite their higher risk of chronic kidney disease, people with high blood pressure or diabetes usually are not given a simple test for protein in the urine to screen for this potentially deadly disorder.

They analyzed data on nearly four million hypertension and diabetes patients around the world and found that only about 4% of the former and 35% of the latter had been screened for chronic kidney disease with a test for albuminuria, a standard measure of protein in the urine.

This was despite the relatively high rates of chronic kidney disease that are generally found among hypertension and diabetes patients.

Chronic kidney disease is easy to miss, especially in its early stages, because it typically features mild and nonspecific symptoms such as unexplained itching and swollen feet and ankles.

It often progresses undiagnosed until the late stages when kidney failure is unavoidable.

In the study, the team analyzed datasets including medical records for a total of 1,344,594 adults with diabetes and 2,334,461 adults who had high blood pressure but not diabetes.

They found that only 4.1% of the hypertension patients and 35.1% of the diabetes patients had had a urine test during a two-year time window starting with their inclusion in a dataset.

These results highlight the need to widen albuminuria testing for the early detection of chronic kidney diseases—especially now that we have new and more effective treatments that could benefit these patients.

The team says people who were tested were not those at the highest risk—they were just a random subset.

They estimate that the number of patients with a high risk of kidney disease was far greater than the number of detected cases—almost 20 times greater among hypertension patients.

If you care about kidney health, please read studies about how to protect your kidneys from diabetes, and these heartburn drugs may cause gradual yet ‘silent’ kidney damage

For more information about kidney health, please see recent studies about best and worst diets for diabetic kidney disease, and results showing how to live long with kidney disease.

The research was published in Hypertension and conducted by Jung-Im Shin et al.

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