High Unawareness of Chronic Kidney Disease in Germany

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular events, hospitalizations, end stage renal disease and mortality. Main risk factors for CKD are diabetes, hypertension, and older age. Although CKD prevalence is about 10%, awareness for CKD is generally low in patients and physicians, hindering early diagnosis and treatment. We analyzed baseline data of 3305 participants with CKD Stages 1-4 from German cohorts and registries collected in 2010. Prevalence of CKD unawareness and prevalence ratios (PR) (each with 95%-confidence intervals) were estimated in categories of age, sex, CKD stages, BMI, hypertension, diabetes and other relevant comorbidities. We used a log-binomial regression model to estimate the PR for CKD unawareness for females compared to males adjusting for CKD stage and CKD risk factors. CKD unawareness was high, reaching 71% (68-73%) in CKD 3a, 49% (45-54%) in CKD 3b and still 30% (24-36%) in CKD4. Prevalence of hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular comorbidities was not associated with lower CKD unawareness. Independent of CKD stage and other risk factors unawareness was higher in female patients (PR = 1.06 (1.01; 1.10)). Even in patients with CKD related comorbidities, CKD unawareness was high. Female sex was strongly associated with CKD unawareness. Guideline oriented treatment of patients at higher risk for CKD could increase CKD awareness. Patient-physician communication about CKD might be amendable.


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