Countries must act locally to reduce the global health burden caused by diabetic kidney disease, according to an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Prof Robert Atkins, Head of Kidney Disease Prevention at Monash University, Melbourne, and Prof Paul Zimmet, Director Emeritus and Director of International Research at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, write that World Kidney Day on 11 March is a time to intensify action on diabetic kidney disease.
"We hope the focus on diabetic kidney disease for World Kidney Day 2010 will help increase awareness of the magnitude of the problem and its ramifications for global health," they said.
The number of people with diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance, a pre-diabetic state, is estimated to reach 380 million and 418 million, respectively, by 2025. The increase in the prevalence of diabetes will be greater in developing countries, Prof Atkins said.
"Diabetes is now the major cause of end-stage kidney failure in both developed and developing nations. In Australia, the number of patients with type 2 diabetes starting dialysis increased fivefold between 1993 and 2007," Prof Atkins said.
"Some 30 per cent of the predicted 1.1 trillion dollar medical costs of dialysis worldwide for 2000-2010 will result from diabetic nephropathy.
"The first step towards better control of diabetic kidney disease must encompass public health campaigns aimed at preventing the development of type 2 diabetes."
Other steps include implementing a strategy to detect early diabetic kidney disease by screening for albuminuria and reduced glomerular filtration rate; increasing awareness among patients about their condition; effective management using evidence-based therapies; and supporting basic research and clinical trials into the development of new therapies.
"The problem is global and yet requires local action," Prof Atkins said.
"The ultimate challenge is to win commitment from all involved - from providers of primary health care to those at the highest level of care; from individuals at risk to patients with advanced disease - in all countries irrespective of economic circumstances and priorities."
The Medical Journal of Australia is a publication of the Australian Medical Association.