African Americans and Kidney Disease Fact Sheet

An illustration of two kidneysKidney Disease in African Americans

  • African Americans are four times more likely to develop kidney failure than
  • African Americans make up 12 percent of the population but account for 30
    percent of people with kidney failure.
  • Diabetes and high blood pressure account for about 70 percent of kidney
    failure in African Americans.
  • A recent NKDEP survey of African Americans found that only 17 percent named
    kidney disease as a consequence of diabetes, and only eight percent named it as
    a consequence of high blood pressure.
  • African American males ages 22 – 44 are 20 times more likely to develop
    kidney failure due to high blood pressure than Caucasian males in the same age
  • Forty-five percent of African American men with kidney failure received late
    referrals to nephrologists. In some cases people were not aware they had a
    problem until they needed dialysis.

Kidney Disease in the United States

  • Approximately 20 million Americans have kidney disease. The number of people
    diagnosed with kidney disease has doubled each decade for the last two
  • In 2001, there were about 400,000 people who had kidney failure, which
    requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive. By 2010, an estimated
    661,330 individuals will have kidney failure.
  • The annual cost of treating patients with kidney failure in the U.S. is more
    than $20 billion.
  • In 2000, about the same number of people died with kidney failure as with
    breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.
  • The most common causes of kidney failure are diabetes and high blood
  • Early kidney disease has no symptoms, and can become kidney failure with
    little or no warning if left undetected. When patients are not tested and
    treated for kidney disease early, it is usually discovered right before the
    kidneys fail.
  • Kidney failure can be effectively treated if detected early.

  1. U.S. Renal Data System. (2002). National Institutes of Health,
    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, MD.
  2. National Kidney Disease Education Program. (2003). NKDEP
    Survey of African American Adults’ Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors Related to
    Kidney Disease (Draft). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney
    Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.
  3. Kinchen KS, Sadler J, Fink N, et al: The timing of
    specialist evaluation in chronic kidney disease and mortality. Ann Intern
    137: 479-486, 2002.
  4. SEER, 2003.
  5. Hostetter, T. (2001). Prevention of end-state renal disease
    due to type 2 diabetes. New England Journal of Medicine, 345(12): 910-912.