Lives are being put at risk by the failure to recognise the seriousness of CKD

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of chronic kidney disease (CKD), yet a new report published by Kidney Care UK today highlights that:

  • 65% of people with diabetes and high blood pressure who went on to be diagnosed with CKD were not made aware of their risk of CKD before diagnosis
  • almost 40% of people with diabetes are missing out on simple urine tests that can identify early CKD signs and help people access treatment that can delay progression of the condition.

CKD’s lack of prominence in health policy is costing lives; 22 people a day are diagnosed with kidney failure, yet almost one in five (18%) of people who start kidney replacement therapy (dialysis or transplant) have only seen their kidney specialist for the first time within the previous 90 days. This is considered late presentation, meaning that preparation and surgery for dialysis have to start urgently and suggests opportunities to treat early and delay progression were missed.

Government must ensure CKD is on the health agenda if people are to benefit from new tools (such as the Kidney Failure Risk Equation) available to estimate people’s risk of kidney failure within the next five years, and treatments which can not only delay progression but also reduce risk of dying from cardiovascular complications.

Globally, around 1 in 10 people have CKD and it is estimated half of those are undiagnosed.

In the UK, around 3.7 million people have early CKD (stage 1 and 2), with approximately 3.5 million at the later stages (3 to 5). Around one in 50 people with CKD ends up with kidney failure, which requires dialysis or transplant.

Fiona Loud, Policy Director of Kidney Care UK, said: “The number of people with CKD in the UK is expected to grow significantly over the coming decade because of an ageing population, increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Our report shows that there are huge opportunities to improve support for people in the early stages of chronic kidney disease to maintain their health and delay the risk of kidney failure for as long as possible.

“Kidney disease is simply not seen as a priority. This is unacceptable and has to change now. Not only because people living with the condition are shouting from the rooftops that kidney disease needs more recognition and awareness but also because it’s putting lives at risk and unsustainable, and unnecessary, pressure on the NHS.

People must be told about their CKD and have regular checks to measure any changes in kidney function. When we asked them, people with kidney disease told us clearly that they want to take control of their kidney health. It is time to change the dynamic on kidney health and take simple steps to save lives, and it’s time to talk kidneys.”

Download the Let's Talk Kidneys Kidney Care UK Report