NIDDK Director Griffin Rodgers, in his lab in the NIH's Clinical Research Center, focuses on his research on sickle cell disease. NIDDK’s research goals include preventing kidney disease among Americans. More than 20 million people in the U.S. have kidney disease, and rates are increasing. Photos courtesy NIDDK

NIDDK Director Griffin Rodgers, in his lab in the NIH’s Clinical Research Center, focuses on his research on sickle cell disease. NIDDK’s research goals include preventing kidney disease among Americans. More than 20 million people in the U.S. have kidney disease, and rates are increasing. Photos courtesy NIDDK

More than 20 million Americans may have lab tests showing kidney disease, and rates are growing among adults. Kidney damage can cause waste to build up in the body, and is linked to heart disease and other health problems. In advance of March’s observance of National Kidney Month, The Nation’s Health spoke with Griffin Rodgers, MD, MACP, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, about kidney disease risks and steps for prevention.

Who is at greatest risk for kidney disease and why?

People at greatest risk for chronic kidney disease, or CKD, are people who have diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or a family history of kidney failure. Diabetes and hypertension, at least in this country, are the leading causes of kidney damage. Nearly 1 in 4 people with diabetes has CKD, while about 1 in 5 with hypertension has CKD.

Research also shows that there’s a correlation between heart disease and kidney disease. People who have cardiovascular disease are at higher risk for developing kidney disease. Conversely, people with kidney disease are at a high risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

To continue reading this news story from the February/March 2017 issue of The Nation’s Health, visit the newspaper online.