10 IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT KIDNEY DISEASE
1. About 20 million Americans have kidney disease. The number of people diagnosed with kidney disease has doubled each
decade for the last two decades.
2. In 2003, nearly 453,000 U.S. residents were under treatment for End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).
3. Each year, kidney disease kills over 80,000 people, making it America's ninth leading cause of death.
4. Diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure) are the number one and number two causes of kidney disease,
respectively. Diabetes accounts for 35% of all new ESRD cases.
5. Dialysis is not a cure for kidney disease. This life-saving, blood-filtering process is also strenuous, expensive and comes
with severe dietary and lifestyle restrictions.
6. Rates of new cases of ESRD are increasing by 7 percent per year for African-Americans, 10 percent per year for
American Indians, and 11 percent per year for Asian Americans. Caucasians have the lowest rate of increase at 6 percent
7. In 1972, it was estimated that the Medicare ESRD program would cost $250 million. However, today the program pays
about $14 billion to support and treat ESRD patients. These skyrocketing costs are due to both the increase in patients and
the cost of newer, more effective medications and treatment processes.
8. Federal health insurance plans such as Medicare usually cover about 80% of costs for kidney disease patients.
9. Medical research remains the best hope to reduce human suffering and the enormous Medicare costs imposed by ESRD.
10. Unless people experiencing kidney failure are treated, they can die within days, due to the build-up of toxins and fluid in
10 IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT THE LINK BETWEEN CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE AND CARDIOVASCULAR
1. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
2. Heart disease is the major cause of death for all people with CKD, accounting for half of all deaths among people with
3. Death from cardiovascular disease is 10 to 30 times higher in dialysis patients than in the general population.
4. Patients with low glomerular filtration rate, or GFR, are significantly more likely to die, suffer a cardiovascular event
such as heart disease or stroke, or be hospitalized, than those with more normal kidney function.
5. Kidney disease can represent either a cause or a consequence of cardiovascular disease.
6. Hypertension (high blood pressure) increases the risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and
renal failure. Severe hypertension can cause renal damage that is extensive and rapidly progressive.
7. CKD independently increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, even among people with early kidney disease
and after considering other risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.
8. Even early or milder CKD places a person at higher risk of heart attacks and heart ailments, as well as heart disease-
9. The two most common causes of CKD are diabetes and high blood pressure, which are also major risk factors for
10. Traditional heart disease risk factors such as age, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes, increase
heart disease risk for those with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Additionally, CKD patients have several unique cardiac risk
factors, which include anemia, malnutrition, inflammation and calcium and phosphorous abnormalities in the blood.
10 IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT OBESITY AND THE KIDNEY:
1. An expert panel convened by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in cooperation with the National
Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), both part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
identified “overweight” as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25–29.9 kg/m², and “obesity” as a BMI of 30 kg/m² or greater.
Defining “overweight” as a BMI of 25 or greater is consistent with the recommendations of the World Health Organization
and most other countries.
2. Obesity is a strong risk factor for diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure), which are the number one and
number two causes of kidney disease, respectively.
3. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults, or 129.6 million people, are overweight. One-third of those who are overweight, or
61.3 million U.S. adults, are classified as obese.
4. The cost of lost productivity related to obesity among Americans ages 17–64 is estimated at around $4 billion.
5. Obese individuals have a 50 to 100 percent increased risk of death from all causes, compared with normal weight
6. Seventeen percent of adolescents in the U.S., ages 12-19, are overweight. Nineteen percent of children in the U.S., ages
6-11, are overweight.
7. Obesity at any age triples one’s risk of chronic kidney failure.
8. Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. About 280,000 adult deaths each year in the U.S. are
related to obesity.
9. Several types of cancer are associated with being overweight, including cancer of the kidney, gallbladder, uterus, breast
and colon, among others.
10. Obesity-related conditions worsen as weight increases and often improve as the excess weight is lost.
10 IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT RENAL TRANSPLANTATION:
1. In 2003, there were 16,043 kidney transplants performed, up from 14,557 in 2000, and 7,501 in 1988.
2. Of all donated kidneys in 2004, 9,357 came from cadavers and 6,647 came from living donors. There were 881
combination kidney and pancreas transplants.
3. There are currently 65,388 people waiting for kidney transplants and 2,508 waiting for kidney and pancreas transplants.
Because of the lack of available donors in this country, 3,886 kidney patients died in 2004 while waiting for an available
4. Kidney donors should be in reasonable health with normal and sufficient kidney function to allow continued normal
function after removal of one kidney.
5. While the traditional method for removing a kidney is through an incision in the back or side, many medical centers
remove the donated kidney by laparoscopic surgery. In this procedure, the surgeon inserts a tiny camera and instruments
into the body through several small incisions. This procedure has a less painful and faster recovery than traditional surgery
and also leaves less scarring.
6. When a patient receives a kidney, a surgeon places the new kidney inside their lower abdomen and connects the artery
and vein of the new kidney to their artery and vein, allowing for normal blood flow and healthy urine production.
7. Only 77.4% of patients survive on dialysis for the first year and 10% survive after 10 years, compared with a 94.3%
survival rate after one year and 59.1% survival rate after 10 years with a kidney donated from a cadaver. The survival rate
for a kidney transplanted from a living donor is 97.7% for the first year and 75.3% after 10 years.
8. The transplant team considers three factors in matching kidneys with potential recipients: (1) blood type, (2) human
leukocyte antigens, which are inherited genetically and carried in the cells, and (3) crossmatching antigens, a test mixture of
the donor and recipient’s blood to make sure there is no negative reaction.
9. Transplantation is the closest thing to a cure but kidney rejection is still likely. A common cause of rejection is not taking
medication as prescribed.
10. A kidney can be preserved for up to 72 hours between its removal and replacement.
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