MD, FRCPC, Professor of Medicine, Head of the Division of Nephrology at the University of British Columbia (BC) & Executive Director, BC Provincial Renal Agency
MD, Global Medical Affairs, CVRM, AstraZeneca
World Kidney Day is a global initiative dedicated to raising awareness of the important role kidneys play in our overall health.1 This year, the campaign is calling on advocates everywhere to help highlight the need for preventive interventions to avert the onset and progression of kidney disease.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an important and increasingly recognised public health problem that affects almost 700 million people globally.2 People with CKD have a higher annual mortality rate than breast or prostate cancer,3 yet there remains a real gap in knowledge about the disease among the general public. In fact, about 90% of those affected are unaware of their condition.3
Because CKD can occur in the context of multiple comorbidities, kidney disease is known as a “disease multiplier.”4 Up to two-thirds of CKD cases result from diabetes or high blood pressure.3 Often, symptoms are silent until the disease is advanced. In its most severe form, known as end-stage kidney disease, kidney damage and deterioration of kidney function have progressed to the stage where dialysis or kidney transplantation is required.5
By 2040, CKD is expected to become the fifth leading cause of mortality globally.6 The good news is that early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent disease progression. There are simple tests to detect CKD and increasingly more treatment options for patients with this disease.7
We can work to help reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide by prioritising:
- Early identification: Early detection of CKD can reduce progression of the disease and its associated complications. It is critical to raise awareness of primary prevention measures, such as screening for kidney disease (using blood and/or urine tests), modification of risk factors and making healthy lifestyle choices through diet and exercise.8,9 We also need to educate healthcare practitioners and patients about early signs of CKD.
- Early treatment: There is no cure for CKD, but it is possible to delay or slow progression of the condition through disease management, such as blood pressure optimisation, the control of blood sugars and healthy diet.10 Investment in research and the development of potential treatment options is also key to continuing to improve care for patients with CKD.
- High-quality, accessible care: CKD is a global health challenge, and it is important that patients everywhere have equitable access to care. Multiple factors such as ethnicity, socioeconomic status and location can contribute not only to a patient’s risk of developing and progressing CKD, but the care they ultimately receive.11
By taking valuable action to incorporate awareness strategies that promote education and enable early identification and treatment, we can transform the trajectory of CKD and its complications. With the help of policy makers, advocacy groups, patients, healthcare professionals and industry leaders, we can help make a difference in the future of CKD care.
Learn more about AstraZeneca’s ambition to transform the way renal care is delivered to patients around the world. Through the ACT – Accelerate Change Together – on Chronic Kidney Disease programme, AstraZeneca is calling for healthcare systems and stakeholders across the globe to improve care through timely diagnosis and access to treatment.
Dr. Adeera Levin, MD, FRCPC, is a Professor of Medicine, Head of the Division of Nephrology at the University of British Columbia, and Consultant nephrologist at Providence Health Care/St Paul’s Hospital, in Vancouver, Canada. She is the Executive Director of the BC Renal Agency which oversees the care, planning and budgets for kidney services in the province of British Columbia. She has over 300 peer reviewed publications, numerous book chapters and is co-editor of a textbook on chronic kidney disease.
1. World Kidney Day. About the Day [cited 2020 Mar 06]. Available from URL: https://www.worldkidneyday.org/about/world-kidney-day/.
2. James SL et al. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 354 diseases and injuries for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2017: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. The Lancet 2018; 392(10159):1789–858.
4. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Kidney Disease Statistics for the United States: National Institutes of Health [cited 2020 Mar 06]. Available from: URL: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/kidney-disease.
5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic Kidney Disease in the United States, 2019; [cited 2020 Mar 06]. Available from URL: https://www.cdc.gov/kidneydisease/publications-resources/2019-national-facts.html.
6. Foreman KJ et al, ‘Forecasting life expectancy, years of life lost, and all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 250 causes of death: reference and alternative scenarios for 2016–40 for 195 countries and territories’, Lancet 2018,392:2052-90
7. National Kidney Foundation. Know Your Kidney Numbers: Two Simple Tests [cited 2020 Mar 09]. Available from: URL: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/know-your-kidney-numbers-two-simple-tests.
8. Sherwood M, McCullough PA. Chronic kidney disease from screening, detection, and awareness, to prevention. The Lancet Global Health 2016; 4(5):e288-e289.
9. Hsiao L-L. Raising awareness, screening and prevention of chronic kidney disease: It takes more than a village. Nephrology (Carlton) 2018; 23 Suppl 4:107–11.
10. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Slow Progression & Reduce Complications [cited 2020 Mar 06]. Available from: URL: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/professionals/clinical-tools-patient-management/kidney-disease/identify-manage-patients/manage-ckd/slow-progression-reduce-complications.
11. World Kidney Day. CKD in Disadvantaged Populations [cited 2020 Mar 06]. Available from URL: https://www.worldkidneyday.org/facts/chronic-kidney-disease/ckd-disadvantaged-populations/.
Veeva ID: Z4-22754
Date of Preparation: March 2020
Date of Expiry: March 2022