Many people diagnosed with chronic kidney disease do not know they have the disease, according to report published in the March issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, surveyed 401 people with kidney disease attending a nephrology clinic. More than 75 percent of participants had stage 3 chronic kidney disease or above. While 94 percent of patients surveyed were aware they had a kidney “problem,” more than 30 percent were unaware they had a serious, potentially life-threatening disease. All of the patients surveyed were under the care of a kidney specialist, or nephrologist.
“The lack of awareness of chronic kidney disease among those who are affected appears to be greater than other health conditions,” said study co-author Dr. Julie Anne Wright from Vanderbilt’s Division of Nephrology and Hypertension. “Even when patients are under the care of specialists, they frequently have a limited understanding of fundamental topics, including symptoms, the course of kidney disease and risk factors such as diabetes and hypertension. This study highlights the need for providers to ensure that communication is not only delivered but understood between all parties involved.”
Beyond diagnosis awareness, results of the 34-question survey also showed that 78 percent of participants did not know that the disease may progress with no symptoms. More than 34 percent were unaware that they were at increased risk for heart disease and 32 percent did not know that the kidneys make urine.