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Undiagnosed kidney disease may be widespread, CDC says

An estimated 10 percent of U.S. adults have chronic kidney disease, or CKD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, many of them do not know it.

The CDC recommends screening of high-risk individuals to help prevent or delay the onset chronic kidney disease. Examples of those considered high risk for CKD include people over the age of 50, anyone with a family history of CKD, and those with a family history of high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease.

Along with preventing or delaying chronic kidney disease, proper screening can also help identify patients who have already developed the condition. This allows them to get the treatment they need to help slow the progression of the disease and minimize complications.

In some cases, particularly when left undiagnosed and untreated, CKD can lead to kidney failure. Patients with kidney failure, which is also called end-stage renal disease, typically must receive regular dialysis treatments in order to survive or else must undergo a kidney transplant.

Dialysis is a process by which blood is removed from a patient's body and filtered by a machine in the same way that healthy kidneys normally would. This process creates a risk of additional complications and even death, especially if the patient is not properly monitored.

When doctors and other medical providers fail to properly screen for, diagnose or treat a serious condition such as chronic kidney disease, they can be held liable to any resulting harm that the patient suffers. Talk to a medical malpractice lawyer in your area to learn more about your options if you or someone in your family has been harmed by medical negligence.

Source: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, "National Chronic Kidney Disease Fact Sheet, 2014," viewed Aug. 15, 2014

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