Ten Facts About African Americans and Kidney Disease
Due to high rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, African Americans have an increased risk of developing kidney failure and requiring dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant to sustain life. 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. The following are ten facts about African Americans and chronic kidney disease:
1. African Americans suffer from End Stage Renal Disease disproportionately. The incidence of kidney failure per million population is 998 in African Americans, compared with 273 in white Americans. African Americans constitute about 29 percent of all patients treated for kidney failure in the U.S., but only about 14 percent of the overall U.S. population. The incidence rate of diabetic end stage kidney failure has increased steadily among African Americans.
2. African Americans also develop kidney failure at an earlier age than white Americans. The mean age for African-Americans at the start of treatment for kidney failure is 56 years, compared with 66 in white Americans.
3. The death rates per 100,000 population from high blood pressure is 15.6 for white males, 51.1 for black males, 14.3 for white females and 37.7 for black females.
4. 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.
5. National surveys show that the number of cases of diabetes among African Americans has doubled. Yet, about a third of the diabetes cases among African Americans are undiagnosed.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. High blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure among African Americans, accounting for 34 percent of the 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.
9. It is not known for sure why African Americans are more prone to develop high blood pressure. More than 40 percent of African Americans are believed to have high blood pressure, however. African-Americans also have higher death rates from causes related to high blood pressure.
10. 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.
# # #
For more information on kidneys and kidney disease, visit www.kidney.org
Sources of Facts and Statistics:
“Diabetes in African Americans,” from the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
High Blood Pressure Statistics. American Heart Association.
U.S. Renal Data System 2007 Annual Data Report (www.usrds.org)