The hidden epidemic: Worldwide, over 850 million people suffer from kidney diseases

Hiddenepidemicweb-(1).jpgKidney diseases have been underestimated in many respects: most people are not aware of their impaired kidney function. In general, kidney diseases are “silent diseases,” as most often there are no apparent early symptoms.

Many people with kidney diseases are not aware that they have been living with higher risks of cardiovascular diseases, infections, hospitalizations, and of course kidney failure which requires dialysis or transplantation.

“It is time for constructive change in kidney care policy,” Professor Mark D. Okusa, president of the American Society of Nephrology, said in a news release. “The number of people with kidney diseases is alarmingly high, but the public is not aware of this reality.”

Kidney diseases to date have not had a major role in most health promotion and public awareness campaigns, according to the International Society of Nephrology. Over 850 million people worldwide are estimated have some form of kidney disease, roughly double the number of people who live with diabetes (422 million) and 20 times more than the prevalence of cancer worldwide (42 million) or people living with AIDS/HIV (36.7 million).

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,” explained Professor David Harris and Professor Adeera Levin of the International Society of Nephrology.

“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,” Professor Carmine Zoccali, president of the European Renal Association noted in the news release.