THURSDAY, June 26, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- The already high worldwide rate of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is increasing, and the fact it raises a person's risk of death should make the disease a public health priority, say Taiwanese researchers.
They analyzed data on 462,293 people in Taiwan over age 20 who took part in a standard medical screening program in 1994. The participants were observed for 13 years, with a median follow-up of 7.5 years.
The 56,777 (12 percent) people with CKD were 83 percent more likely to die from all causes and twice as likely to die from cardiovascular causes than those without CKD, the study found. Almost 40 percent of deaths in the CKD group occurred before age 65.
Of the deaths in the entire study group, 10.3 percent were attributable to CKD, but this figure increased to 17.5 percent among people with low socioeconomic status. The rate of CKD was higher among people with low socioeconomic status (19.8 percent) than among those with high socioeconomic status. Of those with CKD, only 3.54 percent were aware of their condition. In the United States, that figure is 10 percent.
Interestingly, the researchers also found that people who regularly used Chinese herbal medicines had a 20 percent increased risk of developing CKD.
The number of people in the study affected by CKD was several times more than that for diabetes, and more than half the number affected by high blood pressure.
The study was published in this week's issue of The Lancet.
Under diagnosis and under treatment of CKD is a worldwide issue, the researchers said.
"The high prevalence and its associated all-cause mortality, especially in people with low socioeconomic status, make reduction of CKD a public health priority. Promotion of its recognition through the general public knowing their GFR [glomerular filtration rate] and testing their urine is crucial to reduce premature deaths from all causes and to attenuate this global epidemic," the study authors concluded.
The National Kidney Foundation has more about chronic kidney disease.