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Health and Wellness Newsletter - March 2016
National Kidney Month
Online Tool Helps Predict Chances of Kidney Failure, Study Finds
New risk calculator estimates who will need dialysis in two to five years.

Kidney Image

A new online tool may help predict whether someone with chronic kidney disease will develop kidney failure in the next two to five years.

Using results from kidney function tests, the tool helps those at high risk for kidney failure prepare for dialysis or kidney transplant. It also provides reassuance to those who likely won’t progress to kidney failure, said lead researcher Dr. Navdeep Tangri, an associate professor of nephrology at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.

Tangri said that, working with their doctor, patients can use the tool’s findings to help lower their risk of kidney failure by better controlling their blood pressure and blood sugar, along with eating a healthy diet and exercising.

“In nine out of 10 cases, patients think their risk is higher than it actually is,” Tangri said. “Most of the time, the information provides them with peace of mind.”

In the United States, about 26 million people have kidney disease, the National Kidney Foundation says. Kidney failure occurs when approximately 85 to 90 percent of your kidney function is gone, according to the foundation.

In 2013, more than 117,000 patients developed kidney failure, the study authors said. About 1 percent of those with chronic kidney disease develop kidney failure every two years, they added.

The tool can help patients in several ways, Tangri said. It can help patients and doctors plan for potential dialysis or transplant. Because patients who need dialysis require an operation to create a fistula to connect them to the machine and it takes months of healing before the fistula can be used, the surgery can take place long before dialysis begins.

For patients who need a kidney transplant, the tool allows them to get on a transplant list earlier.

For more on kidney disease, visit the National Kidney Foundation.

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