Healthy living

People with undiagnosed diabetes also at risk from kidney disease

Zone default image Study finds correlation between conditions

People with undiagnosed diabetes may also be at risk from chronic kidney disease, according to new research.

In a US study involving around 8,200 people, scientists from the University of California found that 42% of those with undiagnosed diabetes had chronic kidney disease - similar to the 40% rate in those with diagnosed diabetes.

"Only a small percentage of participants were aware of the diagnosis of CKD," said Laura Plantinga, who led the study.

In addition, CKD was found in nearly 18% of subjects with prediabetes. Among people without diabetes or prediabetes, the rate of CKD was about 11%.

In the UK, an estimated seven million people have impaired glucose regulation, also known as prediabetes. This means they have higher than normal levels of sugar in their blood, but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes.

They are also up to 15 times more likely to develop diabetes, according to health charity Diabetes UK.

Although it's known that diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease, the latest findings suggest that kidney damage may be occurring even before diabetes is diagnosed, say the scientists.

They also suggest that broader screening may be needed to detect patients with these two "relatively silent yet harmful diseases."

Although the study shows an association between CKD and diabetes, the researchers said it was not possible to say whether the development of CKD followed the development of diabetes, or whether CKD was actually caused by diabetes.

The findings are published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

This article was published on Fri 26 March 2010

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