With our improved understanding of the concepts of genetics, more importance is being given to the tendency of common diseases to run in families and the identification of the same. A recent study has now shown that approximately one-fourth of all dialysis patients have a close relative on dialysis.
What is even more alarming is that many relatives in these families have silent kidney diseases that can be treated at early stages. Family members of individuals with chronic kidney disease also have an increased prevalence of high blood pressure, diabetes, and excess protein in the urine. Early detection can slow the progression of the existing disorder or eliminate the need for future dialysis or renal transplantation.
The study was based on dialysis patients in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, and is the largest study of its type ever performed; collecting family history information from about 25,883 newly treated dialysis patients. Of these, nearly 22.8 percent had other close family members on dialysis. In addition, kidney failure people with diabetes and high blood pressure were more likely to have close relatives with kidney disease.
The following study represents the high rates of familial clustering of kidney disease. It also underlines the need for the parallel evaluation of close family members by screening for the presence of kidney disorders that would minimize the physical, financial and emotional trauma with respect to the family as a whole.
After all, all it takes is just a simple urinary and blood test to identify the condition. So the next time you visit your nephrologist, think about taking your relatives also along with you or at the least share a word of caution regarding the issue.