Black Americans and Chronic Kidney Disease

Due to high rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, black Americans have an increased risk of developing kidney failure. Black Americans need to be aware of these risk factors and visit their doctor or clinic regularly to check their blood sugar, blood pressure, urine protein and kidney function.

  • Black Americans suffer from end stage renal disease (ESRD) disproportionately and develop kidney failure at a significantly higher rate than whites. The incidence of kidney failure is more than 3 times higher in black Americans than white Americans.
  • Black Americans constitute more than 32% of all patients in the U.S. receiving dialysis for kidney failure, but only represent 13% of the overall U.S. population.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure in black Americans. Black Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic white Americans. Approximately 4.9 million black Americans over 20 years of age are living with either diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes.
  • Additionally, 12.6% percent of all non-Hispanic black Americans over 20 years of age have diagnosed diabetes, compared with 7.1% of non-Hispanic white Americans.
  • The most common type of diabetes in black Americans is type 2 diabetes. The risk factors for this type of diabetes include: family history, impaired glucose tolerance, diabetes during pregnancy, hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance, obesity and physical inactivity. Black Americans with diabetes are more likely to develop complications of diabetes and to have greater disability from these complications than white Americans. Black Americans are also more likely to develop serious complications such as heart disease and strokes.
  • High blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure among black Americans, and remains the leading cause of death overall in black Americans due to its link with heart attacks and strokes.

Updated January 2014

Sources of Facts and Statistics:
United States Renal Data System, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Diabetes Education Program, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, United States Census Bureau, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department of Minority Health