Earlier diagnosis and intervention is needed in chronic kidney disease

Today on World Kidney Day, we find ourselves at a critical crossroads for chronic kidney disease (CKD) care. Nearly 700 million people worldwide have CKD and every year, millions continue to die prematurely of related complications.1,2 Despite these startling statistics, CKD has often been neglected in national healthcare strategies, and is associated with a general lack of awareness and understanding among stakeholders – patients, physicians and policymakers alike.3,4 It is time for this to change.

Significant unmet medical need in CKD

CKD is a progressive disease with five stages of severity which often goes undetected in its early stages.5 The final stage is kidney failure.6 For patients living with CKD, kidney function usually declines over time.7,8 In fact, a person can lose up to 90% of kidney function before experiencing any symptoms.9 As patients with CKD progress into kidney failure, they rely on dialysis or kidney transplantation, which are both hugely invasive, time consuming and expensive interventions.10

Growing burden for patients and healthcare systems

CKD is driving a significant and growing burden on patients, healthcare systems and society – and its effects only intensify as the disease progresses. In addition to the significant toll on patients, the most severe state of kidney failure is associated with an annual cost of up to USD 100,000 per patient – positioning CKD as the most expensive chronic disease worldwide.11,12

Breaking down the barriers to diagnosis and treatment

Earlier detection and intervention are key to improving quality of life and patient outcomes. The capabilities for early testing currently exist but are not yet being implemented soon enough or in all at-risk patients.

With this in mind, AstraZeneca and the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) are collaborating on advocacy initiatives aimed at elevating CKD as a global health priority and highlighting the importance of early detection to reduce healthcare costs. With AstraZeneca’s support, the ISN will develop a call to action with clear recommendations on how to improve the early identification and intervention of CKD.

Additionally, recognising that the patient plays an important role in identifying risk factors and symptoms, AstraZeneca and the ISN have joined forces to launch an online quiz to help individuals understand whether they may be at risk for kidney disease and when they should talk to their healthcare professional.

Healthcare professionals play an important role as well in earlier diagnosis and treatment. In fact, the conversation between a healthcare professional and a patient plays a critical role in the diagnosis of CKD. To that end, we have launched “The Pressure is On” aimed at healthcare professionals. The goal of the campaign is to encourage physicians to test for kidney function during routine check-ups, particularly for patients with high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

At AstraZeneca, patients are at the heart of everything we do, and we are committed to addressing their needs across the full continuum of CKD care. We are determined to advance our understanding of renal disease to uncover novel drivers for the treatment, prevention and in the future, cure of CKD. Through these initiatives, we will continue to partner with other organisations to help bring a voice to this “silent disease” and help patients live longer, healthier and happier lives.


1. Bikbov B et al. Global, regional, and national burden of chronic kidney disease, 1990–2017: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. The Lancet 2020; 395(10225):709–33. 

2. Persaud N. CKD a Leading Cause of Morbidigy and Mortality Worldwide. 8 February 2020. Available from: URL: https://www.renalandurologynews.com/home/news/nephrology/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/ckd-a-leading-cause-of-morbidity-and-mortality-worldwide/#:~:text=Global%20CKD%20mortality%20increased%2041.5,some%20major%20diseases%20have%20declined. Accessed 10 March 2021.

3. International Society of Nephrology, Global Kidney Health Atlas 2019.  https://www2.theisn.org/GKHA.  Accessed March 2021.

4. Plantinga LC, et al. Awareness of chronic kidney disease among patients and providers. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2010;17(3):225-236.

5. National Health Service. Chronic kidney disease. Symptoms; 2016. URL: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/kidney-disease/symptoms/ . Accessed March 2021.

6. Kidney Research UK. Stages of kidney disease. Available from: URL: https://www.kidneyresearchuk.org/health-information/stages-of-kidney-disease. Accessed March 2021.

7. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. What Is Chronic Kidney Disease?; 2017. Available from: URL: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/what-is-chronic-kidney-disease. Accessed March 2021.

8. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Kidney Disease Stats. December 2016. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/kidney-disease. Accessed March 2021.

9. World Kidney Day. Chronic Kidney Disease: What is Chronic Kidney Disease? Available from: URL: https://www.worldkidneyday.org/facts/chronic-kidney-disease/. Accessed March 2021.

10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Chronic Kidney Disease in the United States, 2019; 11 March 2019. Available from: URL: https://www.cdc.gov/kidneydisease/publications-resources/2019-national-facts.html. Accessed March 2021.

11. Levin A et al, Global kidney health 2017 and beyond: a roadmap for closing gaps in care, research, and policy’, The Lancet, 2017, volume 390 issue 10105, pages 1888-1917.

12. Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) CKD Work Group. KDIGO 2012 clinical practice guideline for the evaluation and management of chronic kidney disease. Kidney Int Suppl 2013;3(1):1-150

Veeva ID: Z4-30954
Date of Preparation: March 2021