Existing guidelines should be modified to ensure more diabetes patients are tested for chronic kidney disease, Australian researchers have suggested.
Associate Professor Merlin Thomas, Senior Research Fellow at the Baker Heart Research Institute in Melbourne, and colleagues made the recommendation in the latest edition of the Medical Journal of Australia.
Diabetes is currently the leading cause of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in Australia.
Despite this, Assoc Prof Thomas says, CKD is often undetected in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Kidney function should be measured at least annually in patients with diabetes, the authors say.
Their study showed that 24 per cent of diabetes patients had their kidney function routinely checked by their GP. Of these, only a few had impaired kidney function or risk factors for CKD.
Assoc Prof Thomas and co-authors examined whether, when prompted to do so, GPs are able to accurately estimate impaired kidney function in their patients.
They found that most GPs can do this and were able to identify impaired kidney function in over 70 per cent of patients with impaired function.
"Early identification (of CKD) and interventions can help prevent or delay the progression of kidney disease," says Assoc Prof Thomas.
"Plans to amend the content of the Diabetes management in general practice guidelines would seem an important step to improve the uptake of screening for CKD in patients with diabetes."
The Medical Journal of Australia is a publication of the Australian Medical Association.