850 million people suffer from kidney disease: Joint release from ASN, ERA-EDTA, ISN

In a joint press release in June 2018, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN), the European Renal Association – European Dialysis and Transplant Association (ERA-EDTA), and the International Society of Nephrology (ISN), publicized that the current number of people who suffer from kidney diseases worldwide has reached over 850 million and it's time to raise awareness for action to help alleviate the epidemic.

In a joint press release in June 2018, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN), the European Renal Association – European Dialysis and Transplant Association (ERA-EDTA), and the International Society of Nephrology (ISN), publicized that the current number of people who suffer from kidney diseases worldwide has reached over 850 million and it's time to raise awareness for action to help alleviate the epidemic.

This hidden epidemic is currently affecting about 1.2% of the worldwide population, which is roughly double the number of people who live with diabetes (422 million) and 20 times more than the prevalence of cancer worldwide (42 million). Thus, kidney diseases are one of the most common diseases worldwide, but the public is unaware of the extent of this health issue. “It is high time to put the global spread of kidney diseases into focus”, explain Professor David Harris, current president of the ISN and Professor Adeera Levin, Past-President of the ISN.

However, it is not only the number, which is dramatic, but also the outcome: “Even, if many patients with impaired kidney function do not feel ill over a long period of time, they are at a particularly high risk of many other health outcomes due to this condition”, explains Professor Carmine Zoccali, president of the European Renal Association – European Dialysis and Transplant Association (ERA-EDTA). As he points out, the average age standardized mortality rate due to low kidney function (GFR) is 21 deaths per 100,000 [4]. In particular, the cardiovascular death toll from chronic kidney diseases is huge: In 2013, there were 1.2 million cardiovascular deaths attributed to kidney diseases [5]. “The death rate among people with kidney diseases is incredibly high!”

“It is time for constructive change in kidney care policy”, confirms Professor Mark D. Okusa, Past-President of ASN. “The number of people with kidney diseases is alarmingly high, but the public is not aware of this reality. These patients have outcomes and kidney diseases impose a heavy financial burden on healthcare budgets, as the annual cost per patient for hemodialysis (HD) are, for example, US$88,195 in the USA [8], up to US$ 58,812 in Germany, US$83,616 in Belgium or US$ 70,928 in France [9].

ASN (https://www.asn-online.org ), ERA-EDTA (http://web.era-edta.org ) and ISN (https://www.theisn.org ) collaboratively aim to raise worldwide awareness of kidney diseases and to improve prevention efforts. The joint aim of all three associations is to reduce the burden of kidney disease globally and improve awareness. Communicating openly about the current burden of the kidney diseases worldwide is the first step.

References

[3] Vanholder R et al. J Am Soc Nephrol 2012;23(8):1291-8

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