The Global Burden of Kidney Disease
Written by Justyna Wiraszka
Reading Time: 4 Minutes
Non-communicable diseases are among the ten greatest threats to human health, according to the World Health Organization. Over 70% of all deaths worldwide are said to be caused by non-communicable conditions such as cancer or heart disease. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is one such affliction, which can be caused by common medical conditions such as diabetes or hypertension.
In this blog we will go in-depth into the effects of chronic kidney disease, its causes, and how it affects global health.
Cystatin C levels in your blood can help detect CKD. These are used to estimate your glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), which evaluates how well your kidneys are filtering blood.
Filtering blood is one of the kidneys’ most important functions, as they remove substances that are either harmful or not needed by the body, such as toxins, excess salt, and other waste products while retaining those valuable to the body. Additionally, kidneys act as regulators, responsible for maintaining a balanced environment inside your body, the so-called homeostasis, which we need to stay in good health.
CKD’s effect on global health
As we can see, kidney function is essential for the human body to function, yet chronic kidney disease affects a large fraction of our population. Worldwide, about 850 million people are affected by some form of kidney disease. An estimated 11% of the human population – that is 1 in 10 people – suffer from chronic kidney disease.
Risk factors for CKD
Chronic kidney disease can be caused by various different factors such as health conditions and lifestyle choices, many of which are very common. Risk factors that can affect your kidney function include:
- Diabetes Type 1 and 2: Approximately 1 in 3 adults with diabetes develop CKD. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high blood sugar can damage your kidneys over time, meaning that they may stop filtering blood as well as they should, which can lead to chronic kidney disease.
- High blood pressure (hypertension): According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, high blood pressure can constrict and narrow your blood vessels, which eventually damages and weakens them throughout the body, including the kidneys. If your kidneys’ blood vessels are damaged, they may no longer work properly. This means they are not able to remove all wastes and extra fluid from your body, which can raise your blood pressure even more, creating a dangerous cycle and causing more damage, eventually leading to kidney failure.
- Family history of kidney failure: Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of kidney disease. According to the American Kidney Fund, both run in families. You may be at risk for these diseases if a close relative (parent, grandparent or sibling) has been diagnosed with either one or both of them. Additionally, a diverse set of kidney diseases caused by genetic disorders, such as polycystic kidney disease, may be inherited.
- Older age: As people age, so do their kidneys. Although kidney disease can develop at any age, people over 60 years old are more likely to develop it.
- Obesity: Obesity raises the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, the most common causes of kidney disease. Even if you don’t have diabetes or high blood pressure, obesity may lead to developing kidney disease and quicken its progress. Additional weight affects your kidneys by putting extra work on them to filter waste. Over time, the extra pressure on the kidneys can lead to increased risk of kidney disease.
- Smoking: Smoking can lower the effectiveness of drugs used to treat high blood pressure. It also slows the blood flow to important organs, such as kidneys, and can worsen kidney disease.
- Long term use of NSAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, have been associated with acute kidney injury in the general population and with progression of disease in those with CDK.
Given its many different causes, chronic kidney disease is affecting the health of many people around the world. Numerous reports consider CKD as a heavy burden on global health.
Raising awareness of chronic kidney disease and ways to prevent it is considered one of the most pressing issues of human health in today's world. What we need now more than ever are more opportunities to detect a reduced kidney function.
This is where the Bloom Kidney Test comes in handy.
The Bloom Kidney Test is able to measure the cystatin C level in your blood and deliver results within 10 minutes. Based on research done by Bloom’s medical team and established healthcare guidelines, the Bloom App can help you read and understand your test results.
Interested to learn more? Read about the Bloom Kidney Test here to find out if it’s right for you.
Are you ready for a test? Have a look at Bloom’s testing locations to find one near you.
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