Why you should care about kidney disease


  • 1 in 3 American adults is at high risk for developing kidney disease today.1 
  • The risk increases to 1 in 2 over the course of a lifetime .2
  • 1 in 9 American adults has kidney disease -- and most don't know it.3
  • High blood pressure and diabetes are the two leading causes of kidney disease.4
  • Major risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, family history of kidney failure and being age 60 or older.
  • Additional risk factors include kidney stones, smoking, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
  • Kidney disease kills over 90,000 Americans every year -- more than breast and prostate cancer combined.4,5,6
  • Because kidney disease often has no symptoms, it can go undetected until it is very advanced.7
  • Early detection and treatment can slow or prevent the progression of kidney disease.7
  • Those at risk should have simple blood and urine tests to check if their kidneys are working properly.
  • Black Americans are 3 times more likely to experience kidney failure.8
  • Hispanics are 1 ½ times more likely to experience kidney failure.8
  • Every 30 minutes, your kidneys filter all the blood in your body, removing waste and excess fluid.
  • Of 118,000 Americans currently on the waiting list for a lifesaving organ transplant, more than 96,000 need a kidney. Fewer than 17,000 people receive one each year.9
  • Every day 13 people die waiting for a kidney.9
  • Most people have two kidneys, but it is possible to live with only one.
  • Once the kidneys fail, dialysis or a kidney transplant is required.
  • Approximately 415,000 Americans are on dialysis and approximately 180,000 live with a functioning kidney transplant.4

High Blood Pressure

  • High blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney disease.4
  • 73 million American adults have high blood pressure.
  • Since high blood pressure usually has no symptoms, it's important to have regular blood pressure check-ups.
  • 20% of all Americans with high blood pressure don't know they have it.10


Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease.4
Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes.11
More than 224,000 people are currently living with kidney failure caused by diabetes.4

Kidney Stones

  • 1 in 10 Americans will have a kidney stone during his or her lifetime.
  • Each year, more than half a million people visit emergency rooms for kidney stone problems.
  • White Americans are more prone to developing kidney stones.
  • Men are much more likely than women to develop kidney stones.

Kidney Cancer

  • Kidney cancer is nearly twice as common in men as in women.13
  • Black Americans have a slightly higher rate of kidney cancer than white Americans.13

Economic Burden of Kidney Disease

  • Annual medical payments for a patient with kidney disease increase from $15,000 in stage 3 to $28,000 in stage 4 to more than $70,000 in stage 5.14
  • The average annual number of physician visits for an individual with diagnosed kidney disease is 10.28 -- second only to cancer.15
  • Medicare spends nearly $30 billion annually to treat people with kidney failure.4

This list of facts was compiled by the National Kidney Foundation: http://www.kidney.org/news/newsroom/factsheets/FastFacts.cfm


1- http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/
2- Grams et al. Am J Kidney Dis. 2013. 62(2):245-252.
3- Coresh et al. JAMA. 2007. 298: 2038-2047.
4- http://www.usrds.org/
5- http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/prostate/statistics/
6- http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/statistics/index.htm
7- http://www.kidney.org/professionals/kdoqi/pdf/ckd_evaluation_classification_stratification.pdf
8 - http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/factsheets/kidney.htm
9 - http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/ as of July 15, 2013.
10 - http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm
11 - http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/pdf/ndfs_2011.pdf
12 - http://udaonline.net/pdf-compendium/Sections/Trackstar-Urologic%20Diseases%20Chap%2009.pdf
13 - http://udaonline.net/pdf-compendium/Sections/Trackstar-Urologic%20Diseases%20Chap%2008.pdf
14 - Sullivan S. J Manag Care Pharm. 2007 Dec; 13(9 Suppl D):S19-21.
15 - Schneider KM, O'Donnell BE, Dean D. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2009 Sep 8; 7:82.