Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetes - Major Risk Factors Amongst Europe's Population to Be Urgently Addressed

By European Kidney Health Alliance World Kidney Day, PRNE
Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Event at European Parliament calls for early identification and treatment of chronic kidney disease, especially among at-risk patients

STRASBOURG, France, March 10, 2010 - The European Kidney Health Alliance (EKHA) and World Kidney Day (WKD)
organisations today call for European Union (EU) support. Early awareness,
identification and treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and its
associated diseases, including diabetes - the leading cause of CKD(1) - must
be prioritised on the EU health agenda. The Members of European Parliament
(MEP) Group for Kidney Health met with distinguished panellists at the
European Parliament in Strasbourg today at a meeting held to coincide with
the annual global health awareness campaign World Kidney Day, 11th March

Mrs. Frieda Brepoels MEP commented, "The European Union should continue
to encourage the competent authorities in the Member States to take action to
address the problem of chronic kidney disease, diabetes and the other
associated diseases. Preventative strategies are the only way to minimise the
number of people needing organ transplants in the future. Increasing
awareness of CKD is the first and, perhaps, most important step towards
preventing kidney failure. Today, we urge the EU to use its authoritative
voice to support competent authorities in developing public health programs
that acknowledge the importance of preventing CKD."

Speaking at the event, Professor Andrew Rees, Chairman of EKHA commented,
"Although, chronic kidney disease affects at least 10% of the European
population(2), there is little awareness of the problems it causes,
particularly amongst high-risk groups such as patients with diabetes. Today
we are calling for novel strategies to improve early detection of CKD as part
of a coordinated approach to tackle major chronic diseases."

Indeed, the lack of awareness among at-risk patients was illustrated by
results from a pan-European survey conducted amongst diabetes patients which
showed that, while the majority of respondents (67%) with diabetes were aware
that they were at increased risk of CKD, worryingly, almost 70% have never
discussed steps they should take to look after their kidneys with their
doctor. Only 12% of these respondents correctly assumed that CKD has no
obvious symptoms, highlighting the urgent need to raise awareness and improve
early detection of CKD.

Professor Eberhard Ritz, Department Internal Medicine, Ruperto Carola
University, Nierenzentrum, Heidelberg added, "There is an urgent need for
improved public awareness, detection rates and subsequent management of
chronic kidney disease in clinical practice. Through this, we hope to reduce
the number of people needlessly suffering from CKD and its consequences."

In its most advanced stage, CKD requires renal replacement therapy with
dialysis or transplantation. The EU can play an important role in ensuring
safety and quality standards of organs for transplantation and increasing the
supply of available donor organs. Of special importance is to acknowledge
the role living donation can play in helping to alleviate the current organ
shortage. EKHA calls on the European Parliament to respect the different
cultures and beliefs of the Union and to allow each Member State to decide
individually whether living donation is complementary or subsidiary to
deceased donation.

The EKHA event at the European Parliament, Strasbourg was supported by

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 realise the new science's promise by bringing safe and effective
medicines from lab, to manufacturing plant, to patient. Amgen therapeutics
has changed the practice of medicine, helping millions of people around the
world in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, 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 our
vital medicines, visit

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.(2) 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(1) 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)

About a third of people with diabetes will go on to develop CKD, as
having diabetes may harm the blood vessels in the body and can cause kidney
damage.(4) Diabetes is the leading cause of CKD.(1)

About the Survey

The survey was conducted by research agency TNS, among 962 patients,
across 5 European countries (France, Germany, UK, Italy and Spain). The
sample consisted of 227 patients with diabetes, 486 with CVD, and 233 with
both conditions. 16 further patients had CKD in combination with diabetes
and/or CVD. The survey was conducted to highlight current gaps in knowledge
among at-risk groups (CVD and diabetes patients) and the importance of public
health strategies to address the urgent need for CKD recognition. The survey
was conducted in 2009.


(1) National Kidney Foundation, 2009, How Your Kidneys Work,

(2) 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) King H, Aubert RE, Herman WH. Global burden of diabetes, 1995-2025:
prevalence, numerical estimates, and projections. Diabetes Care 1998; 21:

(4) National Kidney Foundation, 2009, Diabetes and Chronic Kidney

EKHA Media Queries, Anna Rouillard, +32-2-639-6230, anna.rouillard at; or WKD Media Queries, Marie-Agnes Cederborg, +32-2-213-13-98, Marie-Agnes.Cederborg at; or Amgen Media Queries, Elisabeth Neal, +44-20-7300-6137, elisabeth.neal at

will not be displayed