Saturday, August 27, 2011
African Americans are four times more likely to develop kidney failure than whites
A new study has found that a condition that occurs when the kidneys are damaged and spill protein into the urine contributes to this increased risk. The investigators analyzed information from 27,911 individuals (40.5% of whom were African Americans). After an average follow-up of 3.6 years, 133 individuals developed kidney failure. There were 96 cases of kidney failure among African Americans and 37 among whites. Kidney failure was most common in individuals who excreted large amounts of protein in their urine. African Americans were more likely to excrete large amounts of protein in their urine than whites. The investigators speculate that several factors may explain why African Americans tend to excrete more protein in their urine. These could include blood pressure and other heart-related factors, obesity, smoking, vitamin D levels, genetic differences, income, and birth weight. These factors may act at different times during an individual's life to affect kidney health. This 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.