Experts in the field of nephrology (teaching of kidney and hypertension diseases) at universities, clinics, practices and laboratories of the pharmaceutical industry are addressing these questions in their daily work.
In Germany currently about 60,000 people are dialysis-dependent, another 20,000 live with a functional kidney transplant. Seven percent of the population already have a limited kidney function, sometimes without knowing it, because the disease has a “creeping, usually painless” character. The number of patients dependent on dialysis or transplantation for renal failure increases by five percent annually. The reason for this increase is, in addition to a generally higher age of the population, the increasing prevalence of the two common diseases of high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus. High blood pressure plays a role in every fifth new patient enrolled in renal replacement therapy, and every second person is diagnosed with diabetes mellitus type II. At present, half of all German dialysis patients are diabetics. Hopes for this group of people awakens the so-called “Mannheim gene”. Diabetics who carry it in their genetic material are protected against chronic kidney disease. This was the result of studies by a Mannheim and Heidelberg research group. But it will be some time before these findings can be put into practice.
Specialists point out already available methods of early detection of chronic kidney disease. It is no longer enough to rely on the previous blood analysis with simple measurement of serum creatinine in suspected kidney disease, but rather a calculation algorithm should be used, which better estimates the kidney function: the so-called MDRD formula, In addition, a urine test should be performed, which provides the protein excretion, which is a clear indication of renal dysfunction.
Patients with renal impairment are often referred to a nephrologist at a late stage of the disease. Then, the measures to prevent the loss of kidney function, or at least to delay, no longer …
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