Chronic Kidney Disease and Cardiovascular Risk

By European Kidney Health Alliance, PRNE
Monday, March 7, 2011

Policy options for tackling Europe's major health burdens

STRASBOURG, France, March 8, 2011 - The European Kidney Health Alliance (EKHA) and World Kidney Day (WKD)
organisations today call for urgent European Union (EU) action to curb the
increasing burden of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and associated diseases.

The Members of European Parliament (MEP) Group for Kidney Health met with
some of Europe's top kidney experts at a lunch seminar in the European
Parliament in Strasbourg held in honour of World Kidney Day, an annual global
awareness raising campaign which this year falls on 10th March 2011.

Mrs Frieda Brepoels, MEP, stated "Unfortunately, the fact that we are
still confronted with so many people on dialysis, or on the waiting list for
a donor organ, proves to a certain extent the inherent failure of our public
health system. Transplantation is the last resort for people with chronic
kidney disease. The Parliament's recent work on quality and safety of
transplantation and on the availability of donor organs has been important,
but it is not enough. We should also focus on how we can prevent European
citizens from needing transplantation in the first place."

Speaking at the seminar, Professor Andrew Rees, Chairman of the European
Kidney Health Alliance, commented "We want to make policymakers aware of the
importance of chronic kidney disease (CKD) to the health of Europe's
citizens. It is common - affecting one in 10 of the population - and not only
predisposes to kidney failure but greatly increases the risk of
cardiovascular disease including heart attacks and strokes."

Premature cardiovascular disease is the biggest cause of morbidity and
mortality worldwide, and the important role of the kidneys in cardiovascular
disease was explained by Prof. Colin Baigent, Professor of Epidemiology and
Honorary Consultant in Public Health at the University of Oxford.

"Some of the major causes of heart disease, particularly diabetes and
high blood pressure, are also potent causes of kidney disease, so heart and
kidney disease frequently occur together. As European populations get older,
this deadly combination of diseases will become very common, so research into
their prevention should be a public health priority."

In patients with CKD, cardiovascular disease may also be caused by a
severe disorder of mineral and bone metabolism, which causes calcium release
from bone and deposition in the blood vessels. This in turn may lead to an
increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The majority of an estimated
324,000 CKD patients on dialysis in Europe suffer from some degree of
disordered mineral and bone metabolism.

As well as the ageing population, recent trends in European lifestyles
greatly increase the risk of developing chronic diseases, including CKD, and
action to reverse them needs to be taken now if the targets set out in the
Europe 2020 strategy are to be met, including the goal of having 75% of the
working age population employed and productive. Tobacco use, high alcohol
consumption, poor nutrition, obesity and lack of physical activity all
contribute to the rising prevalence of CKD and related diseases.

Professor Rees gave the example of a common healthy choice that everyone
can make - drinking water instead of sugary carbonated drinks: "Many people
don't realise how many calories can be found in carbonated drinks which are
typically sweetened with large amounts of fructose containing sugars that may
contribute to CKD. People need to be aware that water rather than fizzy
drinks is the healthy choice."

CKD patient Paul Jongen gave the audience an account of his experience
with kidney disease and the effects it has had on his personal, professional
and social life. Mr Jongen emphasized the key role of self-management in his
dialysis treatment, explaining how Home Hemodialysis, especially at night,
resulted in a better outcome for him.

Also illustrating the importance of self-management, and introducing
e-health as a strand of technology which may aid self-management in CKD, Neil
, Professor of Nephrology at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, presented
Renal PatientView, a website designed to allow patients access to their
diagnosis, test results and other information about kidney disease, from
anywhere in the world.

"We introduced Renal PatientView cautiously, but the system has been
enthusiastically received by not only patients, but also healthcare staff,
and it is now available in the great majority of UK renal units, and has over
11,000 active users. It is inexpensive, and we have found that it has
generated a group of patients who are much better educated about their

EKHA called for increased recognition of CKD and related diseases in
European policymaking, and for concrete action to tackle lifestyle factors
that may increase the risk of developing chronic diseases. EKHA welcomes the
recent Council conclusions on innovative approaches for chronic diseases in
public health and healthcare systems and looks forward to the initiation of a
reflection progress by the European Commission to identify options to
optimize the response to the challenges of chronic diseases.

The event in the European Parliament was supported by Amgen, Danone
Research and Roche.

Notes to editors:

About The European Kidney Health Alliance

The European Kidney Health Alliance (EKHA) is an Alliance of
not-for-profit organisations who represent the key stakeholders in kidney
health issues in Europe.

EKHA takes a multidisciplinary approach involving patients and their
families, doctors and nurses, researchers and other healthcare professionals
who work cooperatively for a European health environment in which there is a
sustained decrease in kidney disease and its consequences.

About World Kidney Day

World Kidney Day (WKD) is a global health awareness campaign focusing on
the importance of our kidneys and reducing the frequency and impact of kidney
disease and its associated health problems worldwide. The campaign is
celebrated every year on the second Thursday of March in more than 100
countries on 6 continents.

About Amgen

Amgen discovers, develops, manufactures, and delivers innovative human
therapeutics. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen was one of the first
companies to realize the new science's promise by bringing safe, effective
medicines from lab to manufacturing plant to patient. Amgen therapeutics have
changed the practice of medicine, helping millions of people around the world
in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, bone
disease, and other serious illnesses. With a deep and broad pipeline of
potential new medicines, Amgen remains committed to advancing science to
dramatically improve people's lives. To learn more about our pioneering
science and vital medicines, visit

About Danone Research

Danone Research, a subsidiary of Danone group is at the core of the
group's mission : bringing health through food to as many people as possible.
The Hydration and Health department aims at demonstrating the benefits of
healthy hydration choices. Among others, hydration has a strong relationship
with kidneys' physiology and we believe that drinking enough water is a
simple healthy habit everyone can take to sustain kidney health.

About Roche

Roche plays a pioneering role in healthcare. As an innovator of products
and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of
diseases, Roche contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving people's
health and quality of life. Roche is providing the first products that are
tailored to the needs of specific patient groups. Roche's mission today and
tomorrow is to create added value in healthcare by focusing on our expertise
in diagnostics and pharmaceuticals. Roche is the world leader in in-vitro
diagnostics and drugs cancer, transplantation, and active in other major
therapeutic areas with a high medical need such as autoimmune diseases,
inflammatory diseases, virology, metabolic disorders and diseases of the
central nervous system.

Roche is committed to meeting high ethical standards and complying with
all applicable local, national and international laws wherever we do
business. Our ethical standards are embodied in our Corporate Principles.

For more than 110 years Roche has played a pioneering role in healthcare.

About CKD and its Symptoms

Chronic Kidney Disease is the general name for persistent irreversible
damage to the kidney. In its earliest stages, the kidneys may only have minor
structural damage. Often such damage tends to progress if undetected and
untreated. One of the signs of early CKD is the presence of small amounts of
protein in the urine.(1) More advanced CKD is characterised by progressively
greater abnormalities in the chemical composition of the blood, anaemia - a
cause of tiredness and shortness of breath, and bone abnormalities. The most
advanced form of CKD occurs when the kidney has been nearly completely
destroyed and treatment with dialysis or kidney transplantation is required
for survival. Many individuals with CKD do not progress to kidney failure and
treatment has the twin objectives of correcting the abnormalities resulting
from the kidney damage and of preventing progression to more advanced stages.

The most common causes of CKD are diabetes, hypertension, and
glomerulonephritis(2) and many factors contribute to its progression. Loss of
albumin into the urine is one of these key factors and when this occurs,
renal disease usually progresses to the end stage unless reversed by
treatment. The growing prevalence of obesity-related type 2 diabetes coupled
with the ageing population has increased the number of people with CKD or at
risk of it.(3)

    (1) de Jong PE, van der Velde M, Gansevoort, RT, Zoccali, Z.Screening
        for Chronic Kidney Disease: Where Does Europe Go? Clin J Am Soc
        Nephrol 2008 3:616-623
    (2) National Kidney Foundation, 2009, How Your Kidneys Work,
    (3) King H, Aubert RE, Herman WH. Global burden of diabetes, 1995-2025:
        prevalence, numerical estimates, and projections. Diabetes Care
        1998; 21: 1414-1431.

EKHA Media Queries, Anna Rouillard, +32-2-639-6230, anna.rouillard at; or WKD Media Queries, Sara Martin, +32-2-213-1398, smartin at, or Amgen Media Queries, Rachel Terry, +44-20-7300-6352, rachel.terry at

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