Kidney disease is a devastating condition that affects millions of Americans, most of whom are unaware. African American, Hispanics and Native Americans are disproportionately affected by kidney disease, and it is common among adults with diabetes and high blood pressure. It can lead to kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. Taking care of individuals with end stage kidney disease costs over 47 billion dollars per year, and represents over 7% of the Medicare budget.
We at the KHRC believe that the most efficient way to reduce this enormous human and resource burden is through prevention and early detection of disease. Yet, we currently have no systematic way to detect kidney disease early and prevent its complications. One barrier for early detection is that, in most cases, the disease has no symptoms until the kidneys have completely failed and it is too late. In addition, the current testing strategies can miss many persons with early forms of the disease.
We must fix this! Although we cannot yet cure most kidney disease, it can be managed and its progression slowed. But research in this area is largely underfunded. In order to attack kidney disease and win this battle, we must harness resources to determine the best strategies to detect disease early and institute prevention campaigns.