African Americans and Chronic Kidney Disease
Due to high rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, African Americans have an increased risk of developing kidney failure. African 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.
- African Americans suffer from end stage renal disease (ESRD) disproportionately. The incidence of kidney failure per million is 783 in African Americans, compared with 295 in whites. African Americans constitute over 31% of all patients treated for kidney failure in the U.S., but only 13% of the overall U.S. population. The incidence rate of diabetic end stage kidney failure has increased steadily among African Americans.
- African Americans develop kidney failure at a significantly higher rate than whites, including 3.9 times higher for those age 30–39 and 40–49, 4.0 times higher for those age 50–59 and 4.6 times higher for those age 20–29.
- Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure in African Americans. The prevalence of diabetes in African Americans is much higher than in white Americans. Approximately 14.7 percent of all African Americans over 20 years of age (3.7 million) have diabetes. On average, African Americans are twice as likely to have diabetes as white Americans of similar age.
- The most common type of diabetes in African 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.
- African Americans with diabetes are more likely to develop complications of diabetes and to have greater disability from these complications than white Americans. African Americans experience kidney failure about four times more often than white Americans with diabetes. They are also more likely to develop other serious complications such as heart disease and strokes and to experience greater disability than white Americans with diabetes.
- High blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure among African Americans, accounting for 34% of new cases each year. However, high blood pressure remains the leading cause of death overall in African Americans because of its link with heart attacks and strokes.
- Many African Americans may be unaware of the connection between high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease. Reports indicate that about 43 percent of African Americans who are on dialysis were not aware they had kidney failure until about one week before starting dialysis.