Examining Racial Disparities In Kidney Disease

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Detroit News on Monday examined findings from recent studies that show that more minorities are being diagnosed with kidney disease and at younger ages. According to the News, a study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Kidney Disease found that nearly half of blacks have at least one risk factor for kidney disease -- such as diabetes, a family history of chronic kidney disease or high blood pressure -- but fewer than 3% of them believe that kidney disease is a "top health concern."


Over time, chronic kidney disease can lead to kidney failure and eventually will need to be treated with dialysis or a transplant. Every year, 30,000 blacks need such treatment because their conditions have advanced to end-stage renal disease, according to the News. Blacks are four times as likely as whites to develop end-stage renal disease. Hispanics are two times more likely than whites to have kidney disease and Pacific Islanders are three times more likely.

Another study, published in the August issue of the American Heart Journal, found that more young adults are being diagnosed with the disease. Leslie Spry, spokesperson for the National Kidney Foundation, said, "The second most common cause of death in young black males is kidney disease, and first is trauma," adding, "If you're black, you have six times the risk of getting kidney disease from high blood pressure or diabetes as a white person." Peter McCullough of Beaumont Hospitals, who led the AHJ study, recommended that smokers or those with high blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of kidney disease be screened routinely for kidney disease (Hayes Taylor, Detroit News, 11/10).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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