November is American Diabetes Month.    

Researchers are predicting sharp increases in the U.S. incidence and prevalence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in the years ahead, according to a paper recently presented at the American Society of Nephrology’s 40th Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition.  

“The expected number of patients with ESRD in 2020 is almost 785,000, which is an increase of over 60% compared to 2005,” says Dr. David T. Gilbertson of the U.S. Renal Data System and the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation.  

The researchers took into account a wide range of factors, including expected trends in population growth and the rising rate of diabetes (the main cause of kidney disease). Dr. Gilbertson and his colleagues predict the U.S. incidence (number of new cases) of ESRD will be about 135,000 in 2015, with a predicted prevalence (total number of cases) of 680,000.  

Based on a combination of trends—including the aging of the baby-boomer population, rising diabetes rates and improvements in kidney disease treatment that increase survival—the authors project continued increases in the number of Americans affected by ESRD. By 2020, the incidence is expected to rise to 151,000 per year (compared to 107,000 in 2005), while prevalence is expected to increase to 785,000 (compared to 485,000 in 2005).  

“These projections play an important role in shaping public-health policy and healthcare planning related to the treatment of kidney disease,” Dr. Gilbertson says. “Medicare pays for the care for the vast majority of patients with ESRD, with costs approaching $60,000 per year for every patient.  

“The financial and human resources that will be needed to care for these patients in 2020 will be considerable,” he adds.  

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