Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects over 18 million Americans, and it is a growing epidemic worldwide. CKD is common in persons with hypertension and diabetes. It can progress to end stage renal disease (ESRD), which requires dialysis or transplantation to survive. CKD is also associated with increased risks for premature death, cardiovascular disease and severe morbidity and disability. While persons with advanced kidney disease represent less than 0.5% of the adult U.S. population, health care expenditures for this group have risen to over 47 billion dollars per year, and represent over 7% of the Medicare budget.
In addition to its economic impact, kidney disease results in large personal and social burden. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and some Asian American groups are disproportionately affected by kidney disease. Persons of low socioeconomic status are particularly vulnerable to adverse outcomes associated with kidney disease.
Despite the potential for preventive strategies to reduce CKD burden, research in this area is largely and disproportionately underfunded.