African Americans have higher kidney failure rates

The risk of kidney failure is 4 times higher in African Americans than in whites. In a new study published in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN), Wiliam McClellan, MD of Emory University and his colleagues state that the increased risk can be attributed to kidney damage that causes a condition resulting in urinary protein excretion.

The evaluation of 27,911 individuals by investigators, of whom 40.5% were African Americans, revealed that 133 individuals developed kidney failure after an average follow-up of 3.6 years; kidney failure occurred in 96 African Americans and only 37 whites; individuals with the highest amount of urinary protein excretion were more likely to develop kidney failure; and urinary protein excretion was found to be higher in African Americans than in whites.

Several factors including blood pressure, heart conditions, obesity, smoking, vitamin D levels, genetic differences, income, and birth weight, may contribute to higher rates of urinary protein excretion in African Americans, say investigators. Kidney health may be affected at different time points during an individual’s life due to these factors.
Dr. McClellan says, “Our large nationwide study brings attention to higher levels of urinary protein excretion as important contributors to the increased incidence of kidney failure experienced by blacks.”

Kidney failure related racial differences as well as kidney failure progression rates could be reduced by treating urinary protein excretion.

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