Skip navigation
D. Who's at Risk of Kidney Disease?

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 of that.

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.