Chronic Kidney Disease Affects Missourians

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

A new report from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services shows the impact of chronic kidney disease on Missourians on an individual and institutional level. The report was developed by the Chronic Kidney Disease Task Force, a group consisting of doctors, representatives of the public and private health fields, lawmakers and Missouri residents with the disease.

The task force was created in 2008 by the Missouri legislature to examine the effects of chronic kidney disease in the state.

"For the most part, chronic kidney disease is preventable and treatable," said Belinda Heimericks, a registered nurse and chief of the state health department's Bureau of Cancer and Chronic Disease Control. "The key is early detection and treatment. This report is a roadmap to enhance efforts to detect and treat the disease in its earliest stages."

The report contains a number of findings and recommendations, including:


* Chronic kidney disease and subsequent renal failure is a public health issue in Missouri, affecting nearly 6,500 people who have an advanced stage of the disease.

* Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of chronic kidney disease, which most commonly progresses through lack of attention and treatment.

* Lack of early treatment can lead to either dialysis or kidney transplantation. Dialysis, covered by tax dollars through Medicare, costs $65,000 a year per patient. Early diagnosis and treatment could save Medicare about $250,000 per patient. Nationwide, the savings are estimated to be $1 billion a year.

* Weight loss, smoking cessation, treating high cholesterol or dyslipidemia, and lowering elevated uric acid levels help preserve renal function.

* Basic screenings for chronic kidney disease, including blood pressure monitoring, are recommended on a regular basis to better detect the disease in its early stages. More education about the disease is needed for primary care providers, as well as increased funding for these education efforts and better collaboration among health professionals and others interested in addressing the disease.