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Kidney Disease Patients are Living Longer, Study Finds

Update Date: Jan 19, 2016 09:32 AM EST

The yearly United States Renal Data System (USRDS) has good and bad news to report on kidney disease.

According to the data, which was released by the USRDS coordinating center that is based at the University of Michigan Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center, kidney disease patients were living longer in 2013. The rate of deaths in those who had gone through dialysis and those who underwent a kidney transplant fell from 40 percent in 1996 to 28 percent in 2013.

Despite the higher odds of survival, the data also revealed that the number of patients who suffered from end-stage kidney disease, which occurs when the kidneys fail to remove waste and water from the body, increased. This rate was measured by analyzing the number of kidney patients who were on dialysis and the number of kidney transplants since these two forms of treatment are the two main options for these patients.

In 2013, the dialysis population grew to 466,607, which represented an increase of four percent. The rate of patients on home dialysis in 2013 was 52 percent higher than the rate calculated more than one decade ago. The number of kidney transplants in 2013 was at 17,600. The data also revealed that the number of people who needed kidneys was 2.7 times higher than the number of available donor kidneys.

Aside from survival rates, the report also found that medical costs linked to kidney disease were very high. In 2013, Medicare spent more than $50 billion for older patients with chronic kidney disease. Overall, the total costs tied to end-stage kidney disease for Medicare was $30.9 billion.

"Overall trends for end-stage kidney disease are promising for those affected," Rajiv Saran, M.D., professor of internal medicine at U-M Health System and director of the USRDS coordinating center, said reported in the news release. "Patients on dialysis are living longer and equally positive, survival rates have steadily improved among recipients of both living and deceased donor kidney transplants."

Saran added that even though kidney patients have better survival rates, people should still focus on adopting healthier lifestyle habits as preventive measures.

"Several lifestyle-related chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases can contribute to kidney disease," Saran said. "Monitoring and early treatment of those conditions are key to prevention, and can help patients keep their kidney disease under control."

For more information on USRDS data report, click here.

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