Excretion of toxic substances, regulation of water and electrolyte balances as well as acid-base balance, the site for synthesis of hormones such as those that regulate blood pressure: the kidneys fulfill important tasks in the body. In case of a chronic kidney disease, the kidney functions are mostly irreversibly restricted over a longer period. The final stage is chronic renal failure in which the filtration function of the kidneys is so badly disturbed that the patient can only be helped by dialysis or a kidney transplant. Two of the various causes for chronic kidney disease are high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus.
“In its early stages, chronic kidney disease shows no symptoms and is painless,” explains Professor Dr. med. Matthias Girndt, speaker at the MEDICA EDUCATION CONFERENCE. "Many affected people are therefore unaware of their illness, the progress of which could be slowed by various measures.” That way, further kidney damage and kidney failure need not necessarily occur. Until now, valid statistics only about the latter existed for Germany: at least 80,000 people in Germany are permanently reliant on dialysis, while approximately 23,000 patients must undergo a kidney transplantation.
“Our study showed that at least two million people in Germany suffer from a chronic kidney disease with restricted renal function”, said Professor Girndt. In particular, diabetics and people with high blood pressure are affected; these diseases even double or triple the risk for chronic kidney disease. “Hence, kidney diseases caused by these factors are even avoidable”, says the expert, “Both sugar metabolism and blood pressure can easily be controlled today in the majority of cases.” For the study, the authors evaluated the results of a nationwide “Study on the Health of Adults in Germany 2008-2011 (DESG1)“ and, in addition to the people aged between 18 and 79 included in that study, the authors also generated estimates for people aged 80 and over.
“Our study also showed that two-thirds of people affected were not aware of their kidney disease. Considering these numbers, it is of great importance to carry out awareness and prevention work – in order to protect healthy kidneys and to prevent already existing diseases from progressing”, emphasizes Professor Girndt. How this work might proceed is the topic addressed by the expert at the press conference for the MEDICA EDUCATION CONFERENCE on 11 April in Mannheim. The MEDICA EDUCATION CONFERENCE is an interdisciplinary advanced training course of the German Association for Internal Medicine (DGIM) and the Messe Düsseldorf based on to the motto “Science Meets Medical Technology” that is taking place from November 14 to 17, 2016 in Düsseldorf.
For further information see www.medica.de/mec2.
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