Kidney Disease Common in China

New York, NY (March 3, 2008) - Nearly 1.5 million residents of Beijing, China, have kidney disease, and only a handful of them know it—a surprising finding, published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases on the eve of World Kidney Day, marked this year on March 13, 2008.

These findings demonstrate that kidney disease is common not only in western societies, but also in developing nations, where the rates of diabetes and high blood pressure – two major risk factors for kidney disease -- have risen dramatically in recent years. In a study of almost 14,000 adults living in Beijing, 13% showed signs of kidney damage consistent with a diagnosis of chronic kidney disease (CKD), which can progress to kidney failure, requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant. However, only 8% of Beijing residents with CKD knew they had it.

“These findings show that kidney disease has become a public health burden of epic proportions in China,” says senior author Dr. HaiYan Wang, Institute of Nephrology and Division of Nephrology, Peking University First Hospital. “As the population in China continues to age and the rate of risk factors for CKD – such as high blood pressure and diabetes – continues to increase, the already-high rate of kidney disease will likely only get higher in coming decades.”

In people with CKD, the kidneys are less able to perform vital functions that help maintain overall health, including filtering wastes and excess fluids from your blood. People most at risk include those with a family history of kidney failure, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Recent data show that CKD increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, the number 1 killer worldwide. Recent estimates from the US place the rate of CKD at 13.1%, or 26 million American adults, most of whom are completely unaware of their condition. The rate of CKD in developing countries has remained largely a mystery.

“The purpose of World Kidney Day is to raise awareness of the public health burden of CKD across the world – not just in developed countries,” says Allan J. Collins, MD, FACP, President, National Kidney Foundation. “These findings confirm that CKD is no longer a disease of only the developed world.”

The National Kidney Foundation is dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation.

For more information on chronic kidney disease visit