Undiagnosed or untreated chronic kidney disease (CKD) causes 45,000 premature deaths in England each year, according to a new report.
The study, commissioned by NHS Kidney Care, estimates that CKD costs the NHS £1.4bn per year – about half of which is spent on treating advanced CKD with dialysis or transplants.
Earlier diagnosis and intervention to address the condition – through behaviour changes and drug therapies – could prevent many severe cases and save many lives, the study concludes.
CKD is a progressive condition in which the kidneys become less effective at cleaning the blood, increasing the risk of cardiovascular events.
According to the report, 1.8m people in England have been diagnosed with CKD and another 1m may be undiagnosed.
“Chronic kidney disease has a much greater impact on people's lives, and on NHS costs, than is generally recognised,” said study author Marion Kerr.
“Most of the spending on CKD is for people with advanced disease. We hope this report will focus attention on the need for early detection and intervention.”
Dr Donal O’Donoghue, National Clinical Director for NHS Kidney Care, commented: “Putting the cost of care aside, for individuals the late identification of kidney disease means delays in diagnosis with a failure to manage risk factors including heart attacks, strokes and progressive kidney disease.”
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