Blacks unaware of kidney failure risks

March 8, 2004 at 12:23 PM
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BETHESDA, Md., March 8 (UPI) -- African-Americans are largely unaware of their higher kidney disease risks, a new U.S. survey suggests.

The National Kidney Disease Program surveyed more than 2,000 blacks ages 30 and over and found more than 90 percent had heard about kidney disease, but only 15 percent thought their personal risk for developing the disease was higher than average.

About 36 in 100,000 blacks were treated for kidney failure in 2001 -- more than three times the rate of whites.

Only 17 percent of survey respondents named kidney disease as a consequence of diabetes and only 8 percent named hypertension as a cause. Both factors lead to the majority of kidney failure cases among blacks.

The authors said the lack of knowledge raises concern because 44 percent of those surveyed reported at least one major risk factor for kidney disease -- diabetes, high blood pressure or a blood relative with the disease.

Nearly half were unable to name any cause, while others named incorrect causes. Only 13 percent correctly said there are no early symptoms of kidney disease.

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