High Prevalence of Chronic Kidney Disease among African Americans Sparks Awareness and Screening Campaign

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The National Medical Association (NMA) and Amgen are working together to address the high prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) among African Americans. Amgen, a biotechnology company, has provided unrestricted grants to the NMA to educate and screen those at-risk for CKD. The NMA is a medical society representing the interests of more than 30,000 African-American and minority physicians.

African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans are all at increased risk for CKD. However, of all minority groups, African-Americans, particularly African-American males, may be most affected by the disease. While African-Americans make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, they account for nearly one in three kidney failure patients.1 African-American males ages 22-44 are 20 times more likely than whites in the same age range to develop kidney failure due to high blood pressure.2

CKD is a condition characterized by kidney damage and impaired kidney function that progress over time. CKD affects 20 million Americans (one in nine adults) and more than 20 million others are at increased risk for developing CKD.1 The four most common causes of CKD are diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the kidney's filtering units) and polycystic kidney disease (an inherited disorder).

CKD generally progresses to kidney failure where patients no longer have kidney function adequate to sustain life and, therefore, require dialysis (the artificial process of cleaning wastes from the blood when kidneys fail) or kidney transplantation. CKD at this stage is also called end stage renal disease. Without proper treatment to remove wastes and fluids from the bloodstream (i.e., dialysis or kidney transplantation) ESRD is fatal.

"Few people are aware that undiagnosed CKD can lead to serious consequences, including kidney failure, dialysis and even death," said Irene Agodoa, M.D., Nephrology Medical Affairs, Amgen. "Given the impact of this disease, supporting these initiatives of the NMA is an important opportunity to continue Amgen's commitment to educating individuals about their risk for CKD and encouraging early screening and treatment to improve outcomes."

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References

National Medical Association
http://www.nma.org

The Facts About CKD. National Kidney Foundation. Available at: http://www.kidney.org/kidneydisease/ckd/index.cfm.

  1. Tarver-Carr ME et al. Excess risk of CKD among African-American vs. white subjects in the US: a population-based study of the potential explanatory factors. J Am Soc Nephrol 2002;13:2363-2370. From Jones-Burton C et al. Racial variations in erythropoietic response to epoetin alfa in CKD and the impact of smoking. Nephrol Dial Transplant (2005) 20:2739-2745.
  2. US Renal Data System. NIH, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. www.usrds.org/. Accessed February 28, 2006. From Gadson SL. The third world health status of black American males. Journal of the NMA 2006; 98(4): 488-491.

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