Kidney disease in the United States is both common and under-diagnosed, but two new studies led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers suggest that paying close attention to results of a simple blood test can help predict the likelihood that patients are headed for kidney failure or death.
The researchers from the Chronic Kidney Disease Prognosis Consortium, led by Dr. Josef Coresh, the George W. Comstock Professor of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School, say the findings emphasize how important it is that both doctors and patients keep an eye on measures of kidney function, including how they progress over time. The findings are published December 11 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
“Patients and physicians should pay attention to the estimates of kidney function which are routinely obtained, but all-too-often ignored,” says Dr. Coresh, who also directs the Bloomberg School’s George W. Comstock Center for Public Health Research and Prevention. “It costs cents to do this test and it is done all the time. The results can inform treatment decisions that may be able to slow kidney function decline. And while the test is more informative to doctors than a glucose test for diabetes, the results are many times overlooked, particularly when a patient has other chronic illnesses that required more immediate consideration.”
Researchers estimate that 10 percent of the U.S. population – more than 20 million people – has kidney disease and that less than one in five of those who have it are aware that they do.