Each year in the United States, more than 50,000 people are
diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), a serious condition
in which the kidneys fail to rid the body of wastes. ESRD is the
final stage of a slow deterioration of the kidneys, a process known
What causes end stage renal disease?
Diabetes is the most common cause of ESRD, resulting in about
one-third of new ESRD cases. Even when drugs and diet are able to
control diabetes, the disease can lead to nephropathy and ESRD.
Most people with diabetes do not develop nephropathy that is severe
enough to cause ESRD. About 15 million people in the United States
have diabetes, and about 50,000 people have ESRD as a result of
diabetes. Other causes include:
Interstitial Nephritis - 2.9 percent
Polycystic Kidney Disease - 2.9 percent
Glomerulonephritis - 11.4 percent
Other Causes - 18.1 percent
High Blood Pressure - 28.8 percent
Diabetes - 35.9 percent
Is there a cure or treatment for ESRD?
ESRD patients undergo either dialysis, which substitutes for
some of the filtering functions of the kidneys, or transplantation
to receive a healthy donor kidney. Most U.S. citizens who develop
ESRD are eligible for federally funded care.
Who is most at risk for ESRD?
African Americans and Native Americans develop diabetes,
nephropathy, and ESRD at rates higher than average. Scientists have
not been able to explain this. Nor can they fully explain the
interplay of factors leading to diabetic nephropathy--factors
including heredity, diet, and other medical conditions, such as
high blood pressure. They have found that high blood pressure and
high levels of blood sugar increase the risk that a person with
diabetes will progress to ESRD.
Also, people with diabetes who have high blood pressure, or
hypertension, have increased odds of developing kidney disease.
Both a family history of hypertension and the presence of
hypertension appear to increase chances of developing kidney
disease. Hypertension also accelerates the progress of kidney
disease where it already exists.
Adapted from the Department of
Health and Human Services, 3/00
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a