Narrator: This is Science Today. Our kidneys
are responsible for a number of different functions,
but two of the main ones are regulating body fluids
and processing toxins. When these crucial functions
completely fail or dwindle to less than 10% of normal
capacity, end stage renal disease results and dialysis
is needed. Kirsten Johansen, a dialysis specialist
at the University of California, San Francisco, says
currently, the majority of people with kidney disease
are those with diabetes or hypertension.
Johansen: Those are very common diseases and
of course, not everyone who has diabetes or hypertension
ends up on dialysis. It's a small fraction of those
people and probably genetics mediates at least some
Narrator: But of the estimated 300 thousand
patients on dialysis, about twenty-five to thirty
percent do have diabetes or hypertension.
Johansen: And that's been increasing now that
people with diabetes are able to live longer than
they were in the past with better treatments for their
heart disease, better treatments for their diabetes
and similarly with hypertension, people are living
long enough to develop kidney disease from those things.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.