The Increasing Epidemic of Kidney Disease in the United States and Globally

Chronic kidney disease has become a global epidemic, requiring millions of people to receive regular dialysis treatments. Companies like Pathway Genomics, founded by Jim Plante, search for ways to prevent, cure and more effectively treat kidney disease associated with genetic markers. With so many individuals battling polycystic kidney disease and other illnesses, further success in the field could be revolutionary.

Diagnosis

Kidney disease often is diagnosed after a routine urine test finds too much protein in the urine. That indicates the organs are not functioning properly. Depending on the potential severity of the problem, the patient may be referred to a specialist immediately, or the doctor and patient may decide to wait for the results of another test several months ahead.

Many men and women have no idea that their kidneys are not functioning normally. There are no early symptoms, and if they do not have a urine test to detect any potential problems, they may live for a long time while the disease progresses to a symptomatic stage.

Before dialysis becomes necessary or in addition to dialysis, other health treatments can be effective at keeping the patients as well as possible and continuing to have a fulfilling life. They should be effectively treated for hypertension, for example. Patients should lose weight if they need to, especially if their weight is in the obesity range.

Complications

Poor kidney function is very hard on the cardiovascular system, resulting in more than a million deaths from cardiovascular disease due to kidney failure every year. Patients dealing with the need for routine dialysis may feel fatigued and otherwise unwell much of the time. Cardiovascular disease worsens those symptoms. Some men and women eventually decide to give up on dialysis because they no longer have the desire to continue living with the constant burden of treatment and such reduced quality of life.

U.S. Statistics

About 33 million U.S. residents suffer from chronic kidney disease and that number is expected to increase significantly within the next decade. People become more susceptible to the illness as they get older, and this country has an increasingly large population of senior citizens.