Kidney Disease in Patients with Diabetes is Going Undiagnosed, Says Study Presented at 2019 Spring Clinical Meetings

Embargoed: May 9, 2019, 6:00PM EDT
New York, NY – May 9, 2019 – A new study of the medical data of tens of thousands of diabetic patients has found many have undiagnosed chronic kidney disease (CKD), including the most critical late-stages.
The authors processed and examined thousands of medical records and lab results of patients with diabetes and found that, overall, 49 percent of patients had undiagnosed CKD. Of that set, 57 percent had stage 3a CKD, 30 percent had stage 3b, 11 percent had stage 4 and 4 percent had stage 5, the most progressed form of the disease and most critical.
The authors hope the study, which was presented during the “poster presentations” at the annual meetings, as well as during the Late-Breaking Research Presentation on Friday, May 10th, will motivate primary care physicians (PCP) to order testing and inspire patients to ask for the information and, ultimately, make positive changes in their lifestyle that can slow the progression of the disease.
“The kidney is unforgiving if being exposed to chronic inflammation or injury such as hypertension or diabetes,” said co-author George Bakris, MD, of the University of Chicago Medicine. “If you have insulted it, it’s not coming back. Once you have lost it, you’ve lost it and PCPs need to alert patients at an earlier stage.”
The study points to the need for the “Kidney Profile” lab work (a blood and urine test that detects CKD) annually for patients with diabetes, Dr. Bakris said. It is also important to control blood pressure, blood glucose and lipid levels to slow the progression of kidney disease, he said.
Patients need education earlier in the course of their kidney disease to allow them to take measures to slow the progression and possibly prevent the development of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). This can only happen if the patient is made aware of the CKD diagnosis.
“Most primary care physicians don’t have time to go over all of this with their patients,” Dr. Bakris said. “We need an overall attitude adjustment as a society and get back to doctors having the time to interact with their patients. We need to change the system.”
In addition to Dr. Bakris, the authors include: Dr. Joseph Coresh of Johns Hopkins University; Dr. Joseph Vassalotti of the NKF and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Dr. Matthew Weir of the University of Maryland; D. Pilon of Analysis Group, Inc.; J. Blais and M. Durkin of Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC.
“This study shows factors such as albuminuria testing are associated with CKD diagnosis in an adult population with type-2 diabetes,” said co-author and NKF Chief Medical Officer, Joseph Vassalotti, MD. “The findings confirm the importance of NKF collaboration with primary care clinicians and organizations to make testing, interpretation and management of kidney disease easier for the busy clinician. Initiatives include a national laboratory partnership, incentives through a kidney health evaluation quality measure as well as CKD payment model and the ‘kidney score platform’ a VA center for innovation funded investigation to enhance communication about kidney disease between veterans and primary clinicians.”
NKF Spring Clinical Meetings
For the past 27 years, nephrology healthcare professionals from across the country have come to NKF’s Spring Clinical Meetings to learn about the newest developments related to all aspects of nephrology practice; network with colleagues; and present their research findings. The NKF Spring Clinical Meetings are designed for meaningful change in the multidisciplinary healthcare teams’ skills, performance, and patient health outcomes. It is the only conference of its kind that focuses on translating science into practice for the entire healthcare team.  This year’s Spring Clinical Meetings will be held May 8-12 in Boston, MA.
NKF Professional Membership
Healthcare professionals can join NKF to receive access to tools and resources for both patients and professionals, discounts on professional education, and access to a network of thousands of individuals who treat patients with kidney disease.
Kidney Disease Facts
In the United States, 30 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease—and most aren’t aware of it.  1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease.  Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history.  People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease.  African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end stage renal disease (kidney failure).
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit