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What is chronic kidney disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition that occurs when kidneys no longer filter blood effectively, and while treatment can help manage symptoms, there is no cure. Risk factors for kidney disease include high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Individuals with CKD often have other chronic health conditions as well, such as heart disease, anemia, and depression. Furthermore, when CKD progresses to late stages, it can result in end-stage kidney disease and kidney failure.

What are the risk factors of chronic kidney disease?

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the main causes of CKD. Other risk factors of CKD include heart disease, obesity, and a family history of chronic kidney disease.

While there are risk factors for kidney disease, there are no outward symptoms. A blood test to measure the level of creatinine (a waste product produced by muscles) in the blood, and determine the albumin/creatinine ratio and the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) provides insight into CKD risk, and gives individuals the opportunity to better their health before entering end-stage kidney disease.

Why should employers screen for CKD?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 37 million American adults have CKD, but 90% of those with the disease are unaware they have the condition.1 The disease does not present outward symptoms until the later stages, when kidney function begins worsening and medical costs start rising. The only way to measure overall kidney function, and give at-risk participants the knowledge they need to prevent CKD, is through screening.

Why early detection and treatment of CKD is important

It is important to be tested regularly for CKD, especially for people who are at high risk, such as people with diabetes or high blood pressure. It is possible to have CKD and not feel any symptoms. A blood test to measure the level of creatinine (a waste product produced by muscles) in the blood, the albumin/creatinine ratio, and determine the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) provides insight into CKD risk.

If left untreated, CKD can lead to serious health issues such as heart disease and stroke. According to the kidney disease statistics for the United States, adults with CKD are at increased risk of death at an earlier age than those without CKD. However, with treatment through medication prescribed by a doctor and lifestyle changes, such as following a healthy diet, it is possible to prevent CKD from getting worse.

How people with CKD can keep their kidneys healthy

To keep their kidneys healthy, people with chronic kidney disease can lower high blood pressure, manage their blood sugar levels, lower their salt consumption, avoid NSAIDs (a type of painkiller), moderate how much protein they eat, and get an annual flu shot.2

Empower your employee population with CKD prevention measures

When CKD is caught early through screening, it is possible to prevent the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure. By identifying those at risk, it is possible to alleviate the health and financial burdens of CKD. The economic burden for chronic kidney disease is high and continues to rise, and offering eGFR screenings can help identify those at risk before they become high-cost claimants.

Employers that offer wellness screenings for employees can easily add eGFR and creatinine to their screening panel to screen for CKD risk. Not only does adding these measures help improve employee health, but can help positively impact healthcare spending, as well.

Contact us to learn more about adding eGFR and creatinine to your biometric screening program. 

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1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic Kidney Disease in the United States, 2021. 2021. Accessed September 1, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/kidneydisease/pdf/Chronic-Kidney-Disease-in-the-US-2021-h.pdf 

2. National Kidney Foundation. Kidney disease: the basics. 2021. Accessed September 1, 2021. https://www.kidney.org/news/newsroom/fsindex