Australians who have type 2 diabetes could also be at risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD), scientists have warned in the latest issue of the Medical Journal of Australia.
NEFRON - the National Evaluation of the Frequency of Renal Impairment cO-existing with NIDDM (non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus) - is one of the largest studies of type 2 diabetes ever undertaken in Australian general practice.
NEFRON examined the frequency of CKD in patients with type 2 diabetes in a representative national sample of general practices. The study was jointly conducted by the Baker Heart Research Institute, Kidney Health Australia and Servier Australia.
"CKD in individuals with diabetes is associated with adverse outcomes, which contribute to significant morbidity (disease) and premature mortality (death)," said Associate Professor Merlin Thomas, Research Fellow at the Baker Heart Research Institute in Melbourne.
Results showed CKD is common in patients with type 2 diabetes - almost half of all patients with type 2 diabetes consulting their GPs had CKD.
The study involved a survey of 348 GPs from around Australia who, with their patients' permission, submitted data for 3,893 patients, including most recent results for blood tests and urinalysis.
It found CKD was significantly more common in women, older people, and those with established macrovascular disease.
"This large, and currently unrecognised, health care burden has the potential to overwhelm clinical practice as the frequency of diabetes and the number of ageing Australians continue to increase," Assoc Prof Thomas said.
"It is hoped that efforts to increase the recognition of CKD will result in a significant change to clinical practice and lead to improved care and survival of patients with type 2 diabetes."