Kidney Disease, an Underestimated Killer

Kidney disease doesn’t get the attention, funding or concern associated with cancers of the breast or prostate. But it actually kills more Americans — 90,000 a year — than both malignancies combined.

Even when it is not fatal, the cost of treating end-stage kidney disease through dialysis or a kidney transplant is astronomical, more than fivefold what Medicare pays annually for the average patient over age 65. The charges do not include the inestimable costs to quality of life among patients with advanced kidney disease.

Much is known about who faces the greatest risks of developing chronic kidney disease and how it can be prevented, detected in its early stages, and treated to slow or halt its progression. But unless people at risk are tested, they are unlikely to know they have kidney disease; it produces no symptoms until it is quite advanced.

Read full text at The New York Times