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Rates of Diabetic Kidney Disease May be More Common than We Thought

Nov 27, 2014

New study says autopsy reports show nearly 50% of diabetes patients had diabetic nephropathy…

Diabetic kidney disease may be more common than currently reported according to new research presented at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week 2014.

A study of 150 deceased individuals with confirmed diabetes diagnosis during their lives, found that nearly 50% had diabetic nephropathy at their time of death.

Researchers at the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands performed an autopsy study to accurately determine the rates of diabetic kidney disease by collecting tissue samples from the deceased individuals. “Our findings show a histologically proven diabetic nephropathy in much more patients than would have been estimated clinically,” said the lead author Celine Klessens.

Researchers also noted non-significant trends for association between the severity of diabetic kidney and death due to cardiovascular disease (p=0.059) and duration of diabetes diagnosis (p=0.07). Some of the patients had exhibited diabetic nephropathy during their lifetime, and others did not. It was noted that only 3 out of the 150 patients underwent a renal biopsy during their lifetimes.

There is no cure yet for diabetic kidney disease, but improved and increased monitoring could be helpful in diagnosis of diabetic nephropathy as soon as possible. The future challenges will be to develop therapeutic measures in order to control or reverse the renal lesions in this patient population.

Practice Pearls:

  • Rates of diabetic kidney disease could be higher than currently assumed according to a new study presented at ASN Kidney Week 2014
  • In a study of 150 deceased diabetics with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, 49.3% of individuals had diabetic nephropathy
  • Improved and increased monitoring (i.e. searching for proteinuria) could be helpful in early diagnosis of diabetic nephropathy

American Society of Nephrology. “Rates of Diabetic Kidney Disease May Be Underestimated.” Web. 18 Nov. 2014.