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Diabetics' biggest threat is kidney failure

25th January 2013

A British charity has warned that the NHS is not putting sufficient efforts into detecting and controlling kidney problems caused by diabetes.

The alert from Diabetes UK comes as American researchers have suggested that for people who have type 2 diabetes, keeping their kidneys healthy could be one of the best ways to extend their life.

In the UK, about 5% of people have diabetes but figures show that only 70% of them receive vital annual checks such as blood or urine tests that would highlight kidney problems.

Evidence that shows careful management of diabetes through medication and lifestyle changes can mean it has little impact on people’s lives.

But failure to do so can lead to eye, foot and kidney problems.

Diabetes UK said that if detected early, diabetic kidney disease could be controlled using blood pressure medication and that there was no excuse for people missing out on kidney function tests.

Clinical adviser Cathy Moulton said: “Very often the doctor will be taking blood for other purposes, such as checking cholesterol levels, so it is the easiest thing in the world to do.”

The latest research, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, looked at mortality rates over a 10-year period in more than 15,000 adults, with and without diabetes. Kidney disease was present in 9.4% of the people without diabetes, and 42.3% of those with diabetes.

Diabetes UK has compiled a list of 15 “healthcare essentials” it says every patient with the disease should read and ensure they are receiving from the NHS.

 

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