Kidney disease is the ninth leading cause of death in the US as shown in kidney disease statistics, killing in co-action with the most frequent chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. 

Now, as if this wasn’t alarming enough, kidney disease is rarely detectable before reaching advanced stages. Hence, collecting valuable information out of these stats is a vital preventive measure, allowing you to remain one step ahead of this vicious condition.

To find out more about this topic, just take a look at the most important facts and stats down below. 

Top 10 Most Shocking Kidney Disease Stats & Facts

  • 1 in 2 people with severely impaired kidney function are not aware of it.
  • In 2015, 18 million years of human life was lost due to cardiovascular events directly related to kidney disease.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease; hypertension being the second.
  • Currently, around 95,000 selected candidates are waiting for a kidney transplant in the US.
  • Each year 160 billion liters of water are used for hemodialysis.
  • People with CKD are more likely to prematurely die than to progress to other stages.
  • In 2016, the US population had the second-highest incidence of ESRD in the world.
  • The overall kidney disease death rate is estimated at 5–10 million people, annually.
  • 1 in 10 people will have a kidney stone at some point in their lives.
  • Cannabidiol inhibits stress-induced hypertension linked to CKD.  

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Facts & Figures

Kidney Disease Statistics - General

1. 1 in 2 people with severely impaired kidney function are not aware of it. 

(Medical News Today)

CKD progresses very slowly and symptoms may be absent until the damage to the kidneys is extremely bad. One of many kidney failure facts states that people often start to feel signs of kidney failure only when their kidney function is already down to 25%; in other words when it’s too little too late.

The same goes for kidney cancer symptoms, for which it takes a certain time before patients start to feel intense pain that doesn’t go away. As with any serious condition, early detection is key for the prognosis of kidney disease.  

2. The overall kidney disease death rate is estimated at 5–10 million people, annually.

(WHO)

These figures are fairly close to the death rates of the most common chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and respiratory conditions such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).  

3. CKD is more frequent among women than men.

(Statista)

CKD among the younger adult US population is more common in women (16.7%) than men (13%), following the statistics for the period 2013–2016. The older population (60 years and over) present the same ratios, but with a much higher prevalence of CKD. 

4. In 2015, kidney failure was responsible for 1.2 million deaths worldwide.

(WHO) (NKF)

Kidney failure statistics display an estimated 32% increase in deaths related to kidney failure for the period 2005–2015. It is estimated that each year acute kidney injury will be responsible for an additional 1.7 million deaths. 

In 2016, 726,331 Americans had kidney failure and over 100,000 of them died from it.

5. Mortality rates doubled for CKD patients older than 66.

(Statista)

According to chronic kidney disease statistics CKD patients over 66 have double the mortality rates of people without CKD. Namely, around 120.2 deaths per 1,000 male CKD patients and 102.6 per 1,000 female CKD patients were recorded in 2016 in the US, whereas people without CKD have only 51.5 and 41.3 deaths per 1,000 population for men and women, respectively. 

6. In 2015, 18 million years of human lives were lost due to cardiovascular events directly linked to kidney disease.

(WHO)

Chronic kidney disease has a significant rate of comorbidity with other chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension, and HIV, as stated in the chronic kidney disease statistics worldwide (2017).   

7. People with CKD are more likely to prematurely die than to progress to other stages.

(NKF)

In all age groups, the chance of premature death for CKD patients is five to ten times bigger than their chances of progressing to end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). Additionally, in 2016, ESKD was the cause of death for more than 100,000 people in the US. 

8. Older African-American patients (66+) with CKD have a higher chance of death than those without CKD.

(Statista)

Kidney disease statistics show that African-Americans have a greater chance of being diagnosed with CKD than all other ethnicities in the US, though the death rate is comparable to all of the others. 

In 2016, there were 106.6 deaths per 1,000 CKD black patients in the US. In comparison, there were only 49 deaths per 1,000 population for black people without CKD who were also 66 and older.  

9. CKD death rate in 2017 was highest in Mississippi, US.

(Statista)

In 2017, the highest number of recorded deaths due to chronic kidney disease in the US was noted in the state of Texas (4,256), but the death rate was highest in Mississippi. 

With a total of 21.7 deaths per 100,000 population, Mississippi is the worst state for chronic kidney disease patients as displayed in the chronic kidney disease statistics 2017.

10. 1 in 10 people will have a kidney stone at some point in their lives.

(NKF) (NIDDK)

Each year almost half a million people are diagnosed with kidney stones. In the US, the prevalence grows bigger each year; namely, at an accelerated rate which is 50% faster than the one in the period between 1970–2000. 

Kidney stone stats display a higher kidney stone lifetime risk in men (19%) than women (9%).  

11. The youngest patient with kidney stones is 5 years old.

(NKF)

Just one of many interesting facts about kidney stones is that they can appear for an extremely short period of time and at almost any age. It may surprise you, but kidney stones are common in children. The leading causes are their food choices such as salty foods and sodas. 

12. Kidney cancer is the sixth most common cancer type for men and the eighth for women.

(Cancer.net)

Approximately 74,000 US adults (predominantly men) are diagnosed with kidney cancer each year. Kidney cancer is more common in the middle-aged and older age groups, with an average age of diagnosis being 64. 

As with other cancerous diseases, the mortality rate is high with an estimated 25% of patients dying in the first 5 years following the initial diagnosis. Kidney cancer statistics estimate that around 15,000 deaths annually are due to kidney cancer.  

End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Stats in the US  

Kidney Disease Statistics - ESRD

13. ESRD cases in the US increased by 1,933 per million population since 1980.

(Statista)

The prevalence of end-stage renal disease cases in the US increased dramatically in the last 40 years. This is partly due to the aging of the population, the longer lifespan, but also due to the epidemics of chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. The prevalence of ESRD in 2016 was estimated at 1,998.3 per million population.  

14. In 2016, the US population had the second-highest incidence of ESRD in the world.

(Statista)

Kidney disease statistics for the United States in 2016 note 122,500 cases of ESRD. This is the second-highest rate noted globally for this year after Taiwan where the incidence rate was estimated at 493 cases per million population, which is 115 cases higher than the one for the US.  

15. Diabetes is the leading cause of ESRD in the US. Hypertension takes second place.

(Statista)

The investigation of the different causes of end-stage renal disease concluded that diabetes is by far the most frequent cause, responsible for around 38% of all cases of ESRD. Hypertension was the second reason for the progression of CKD to the final stage in 26% of cases.  

16. ESRD incidence among African-Americans is almost three times higher than that in whites.

(NKF)

African-American kidney disease statistics show that US minority populations have a higher incidence of CKD because of the higher risk of related diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and CHDs. Likewise, Native Americans, Asians, and Hispanics run a greater risk of CKD compared to whites.   

17. The primary glomerular disease accounts for 22.3% of cases with adolescent ESRD.

(NKF)

Other major causes are congenital abnormalities of the urinary tract with 21.9% of ESRD cases.

In 2018, 755 children aged 18 and younger received a kidney transplant and more than 1,000 children were waiting for a donated kidney. Receiving a kidney transplant increases life expectancy in adolescents with ESKD from 38 to 63 years as shown in kidney transplant life expectancy statistics.    

CKD Treatment Stats & Facts 

Kidney Disease Statistics - Transplant

18. Globally, kidney transplants are mainly done on the American continent.

(Statista)

The estimated number of kidney transplants globally in 2016 showed that the leading number of transplants was made in the region of the Americas, making it the continent–leader on a global scale. Europe has the second-highest number while Africa has the lowest.  

19. Currently, around 95,000 selected candidates are waiting for a kidney transplant in the US.

(Statista) (Statista)

Kidney transplant waiting list statistics dating from September 2019 show that 84% of the total number of patients waiting for organ transplants are, in fact, kidney transplant candidates. 

In 2016, around 215,000 Americans were living with a kidney transplant. The average amount paid per kidney was around $414,800 in 2017.  

20. Kidney transplant stats show better outcomes for living donor transplantations.

(Statista) (Statista) (Statista) (NKF)

Living donor transplant procedures have better chances of a positive outcome in three categories: graft-failure, return to dialysis, and death, following one year after the operation. 

Kidney disease statistics show that death rate probability is almost 3 times bigger for those who were transplanted with organs of deceased donors. Graft failure percentages follow the same trend with as much as 6.9% transplant rejects from a deceased and only 3% transplant rejects from a living donor for 2014.  

21. Every day around 12 ESRD patients die in the US while waiting for a kidney transplant.

(NKF) (Statista)

Around 94,717 CKD patients in the US patients are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.

In 2019, 11,949 kidneys were collected, as per kidney donation statistics in the US, which leaves a shortage of almost 83,000 kidneys.

22. Each year 160 billion liters of water are used for hemodialysis.

(WHO)

The WHO states that dialysis has an enormous ecological impact on the planet, due to the plastic waste that it produces; estimated at more than 900,000 tons per year. Another staggering dialysis figure is the 160 billion liters of water that are used to perform it annually.

As a result of these dialysis facts, the WHO aims to reduce the impact dialysis has on the environment on a global scale cite the implementation of reusable filters, solar energy, and ways to reuse that water. 

23. The US, the EU, and Japan encompass 40% of all dialysis patients.

(ERCPA)

Despite this, the dialysis patient growth rate is much lower in the US, EU, and Japan than in the rest of the world; namely, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, according to dialysis statistics.

Figures claim an increase of 1–4% for the first group and 8–9% for the second. In 2016 almost 3 million were undergoing dialysis treatment.

There are 2.65 million hemodialysis patients globally and they represent 89% of all dialysis patients. Peritoneal dialysis patients account for just 11% of the total number. 

24. 61% of dialysis centers worldwide are in corporate ownership.

(ERCPA)

Most dialysis patients in developed countries undergo treatment in dialysis centers. There are around 40,000 centers for dialysis globally and most of them have private ownership. 44% in the EU belong to the public sector, in comparison with only 1% in the US, as denoted in dialysis statistics 2018.  

Cannabis in the Treatment of Kidney Disease

Kidney Disease Statistics - Cannabis

 25. CBD can prevent the onset of chronic kidney disease in diabetics. 

(Frontiers)

Diabetic patients experience a multitude of complications due to the damage to the tiny blood vessels in the body. Studies in vivo involving diabetic mice showed improved elasticity and relaxation of mesenteric arteries in diabetic mice after using CBD, resulting in better blood flow to the internal organs. 

Extrapolated to humans, these kidney disease facts mean that CBD can block the 3 main mechanisms through which CKD is developed in diabetics: by attenuating inflammation, increasing neurological sensitivity in the bladder, improve kidney filtration, and preventing the onset of diabetes.

26. Cannabidiol inhibits stress-induced hypertension linked to CKD.

(NCBI)

Chronic high blood pressure (BP) or hypertension is the second leading cause of kidney disease.

A 2015 human study and a meta-study of published researchers concluded that CBD lowers BP only slightly. Nevertheless, CBD plays an important role in controlling the stress-induced spike of BP.

Kidney disease statistics show that controlling blood pressure directly means preventing CKD in people with hypertension. During induced stress, CBD keeps blood pressure leveled by lowering it for 5 mmHg, approximately. This effect was observed in many studies involving mice and in healthy and young men, thus, further research is needed in humans under pathological conditions.  

27. Cannabis can mitigate kidney-related pain.

(NCBI)

Whether suffering from kidney stones, CKD, or kidney cancer, one of the particularly scary kidney disease facts is that advanced stages of kidney disease come with a certain degree of pain. 

Researchers compared the effects of a single potent dose of THC with that of codeine and concluded that 10 mg of THC can act as 60 mg of codeine with an added sedative effect. A handful of case studies have shown the pain-relieving abilities of marijuana, but clinical evidence is still scarce.  

28. The CBD/THC mix is useful for ESRD-caused insomnia.

(NCBI)

Kidney statistics show that insomnia and other sleep disturbances are especially frequent in patients with end-stage renal disease. 

Although most of the research involving the use of cannabinoids target stress-related insomnia, preliminary studies in healthy volunteers suggested that a ratio of a high dose of CBD and a low dose of THC can effectively induce sleep in other cases of insomnia, which gives hope for future cannabinoid therapy of uremic syndrome insomnia.  

29. Cannabinoid cream calms ESRD–induced chronic itching.

(NCBI)

Renal failure statistics show that chronic itching (uremic pruritus) impacts 40% of ESRD patients. It can be moderate or severe in some cases. 

In a recent study, a topical cream containing cannabinoids was given to patients receiving hemodialysis and experiencing uremic pruritus with a success rate of 38.1%. Larger scale studies are needed for a definitive conclusion concerning these findings.  

30. THC counters the loss of appetite in advanced CKD and patients with kidney cancer.

(NCBI)

Disturbances in the nervous system of CKD sufferers result in abnormally high doses of serotonin — known appetite suppressor. Kidney failure statistics display that CKD anorexia can lead to malnutrition and greater risk of developing infections. 

THC effectively increases appetite in cancer patients and HIV patients by activating special receptors in the hypothalamic region. The same might be true for CKD patients.

31. Cannabinoids a promising therapy for CKD caused nausea and vomiting

(NCBI)

Nausea and vomiting are particularly present in CKD patients that undergo hemodialysis. Kidney dialysis facts show that nausea and vomiting in dialysis patients occur with an incidence of 18.2–28.3% and 9.8–11.7%, respectively. These symptoms are somewhat reduced after the initiation of dialysis, but they can persist in some patients.

In patients undergoing chemotherapy, synthetic cannabinoids showed equal results as using prochlorperazine and metoclopramide — drugs that treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). More studies involving CKD patients are needed to confirm the antiemetic effect of cannabinoids.  

32. THC-high and CBD-high cannabis extracts reduce the chance of transplant rejects.

(MDPI)

Luckily for kidney transplant statistics, in vitro and in vivo research show that both CBD and THC have an immunomodulatory effect that inhibits lymphocyte activation and secretion of cytokines. In other words, these findings can have a substantial impact on the prevention of transplant rejection also known as graft versus host disease (GVHD). 

The exact dosage and methods of administration are still not known in detail, but in vivo studies show higher potency for plant extracts than pure cannabinoids.  

FAQs

Kidney Disease Statistics - FAQs

What causes kidney disease?

(NKF)

There are many conditions that can damage the kidneys and in that way lead to kidney disease. In most cases, these are diabetes and hypertension. Another common cause is glomerulonephritis — a result of infection and affecting the filtering units of the kidney. 

Different infections, kidney stones, and hereditary diseases may cause kidney disease. Pain-killers abuse and heroin abuse can also impair kidney function due to overuse. 

Moreover, polycystic kidney disease is a hereditary condition that may cause kidney disease and the obvious culprit, kidney cancer.  

How long can you stay in stage 3 kidney disease?

(NCBI) (Nephcure)

Stage 3 kidney disease can be divided into two subcategories, 3A and 3B, in relation to the creatinine level in the blood. A research conducted in 2012 concluded that patients in the 3B groups face a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD). 

Half of all patients in stage 3 CKD will progress to stage 4 in 10 years’ time. Prognostics depend on the way the condition is managed and the age of the patient. 

If treatment is regular, the life expectancy with stage 3 CKD is estimated at 24 years for 40-year-old men and 28 years for 40-year-old women.  

What is chronic kidney disease?

(Kidney Fund)

The diagnosis of chronic kidney disease describes a condition where the kidneys are irreversibly damaged to a certain degree and fail to function with maximum capacity longer than 3 months. CKD increases the possibility of damage progression, ultimately leading to kidney failure; in other words, end-stage renal disease (ESRD). If they do fail, a kidney transplant or dialysis is needed to survive. 

How to prevent kidney disease?

(WebMD)

Kidney disease can be prevented by eliminating the possible leading causes. Controlling the blood sugar levels can work miracles along with adopting a low sodium diet. Not eating too much salt will keep the blood pressure at a healthy level and hopefully keep CKD at bay. 

Lowering fat intake is another great habit to avoid kidney disease. A healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and regular check-ups is also a big plus. 

What are the stages of kidney disease?

(Nephcure)

There are five stages of CKD depending on the operation of the kidneys. The effectiveness of the kidneys is called the Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) and is presented in percentage. 

These percentages are measured by the levels of creatinine, albumins, and urea in the blood, along with the levels of proteins, blood, and sugar in the urine.

  • Stage 1 (>90%);
  • Stage 2 (60–89%);
  • Stage 3  (30–59%);
  • Stage 4 (15–29%);
  • Stage 5  (<15%).

What are the symptoms of kidney disease?

(Life Options)

There are several symptoms characteristic of chronic kidney disease that can help diagnose it. Some are common for other diseases and when standing on their own can’t lead to a definitive diagnosis without conducting further tests.

The symptoms of kidney disease include fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, headache, feeling cold in normal temperatures, mental confusion, feeling itchy, ammonia breath, swollen hands and feet, swollen face, feeling nauseous, vomiting, foamy, dark urine, and a metallic taste in the mouth.  

How fast does chronic kidney disease progress?

(Biomed Central) (NCBI)

Depending on the patient’s age, sex, and other health conditions, CKD progresses with different rates for different individuals, but it is usually rather slow. According to a recent study, 1 in 4 patients with diabetes progressed to another CKD stage in just 2 years, whereas only 1 in 7 patients without diabetes did so over the exact same period. 

How does diabetes cause kidney disease?

(NKF)

There are several ways in which chronic high blood sugar or diabetes causes kidney disease:

  • By damaging (clogging and narrowing) the tiny blood vessels in the filtration units of the kidney — called nephrons. This leads to impaired function of the kidney and progressively to CKD.
  • By damaging the nerves in your bladder. Insensitive nerves can’t transfer the “full bladder” message to the brain in a timely manner. Full bladder causes pressure that can damage the kidneys.
  • By promoting UTIs. The bladder that is full of sugary urine due to diabetes, for long periods of time, is ideal for the proliferation of bacteria, and in that way, causing infection.    

What not to eat when you have kidney disease?

(Health Line)

There is a special diet that everybody concerned by CKD has to follow, popularly known as “renal diet.” Different stages of chronic kidney disease, require different restrictions including:

  • drinks: dark-colored Colas;
  • meals: pre-made meals and canned foods;
  • fruits: avocados, apricots, bananas, oranges and orange juice, dried fruits, such as   dates, raisins, and prunes;
  • wheats: whole grain bread;
  • dairy;
  • meat: processed meats;
  • vegetables: pickles, olives, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, and beet  greens;
  • pretzels, crackers, and chips.

Mainly foods that are rich in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. Stages 4 and 5 also require adding protein-rich foods on to the list and sugar-rich foods for diabetics as well. 

How many people are diagnosed with kidney disease?

(WebMD) (NKF)

Approximately 850 million people worldwide are affected by chronic kidney disease, states the global data on this chronic disease. In the US, there are an estimated 37 million CKD-diagnosed people. 

What percent of the population has kidney disease?

(WebMD) (NKF)

On the global scale, 10% of men and 12% of women have kidney disease. In the US, chronic kidney disease is diagnosed in 15% of the American population. 

Conclusion

Global data paints a clear picture of the enormous burden that this highly under-estimated disease imposes on public health worldwide. Each year, we pay a huge death toll for a simple awareness problem, since non-expensive and largely available tests exist for regular monitoring of kidney health. 

Kidney disease statistics show that attention should be put to further investigating the use of cannabinoids in kidney disease management and prevention, because of their already proven physiological effects, that go along the lines of curing CKD. 

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