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Diabetic Adults from Canada’s First Nations are Twice as Likely to Develop End-Stage Kidney Disease

Update Date: Dec 02, 2013 12:07 PM EST

End-stage kidney disease occurs when the kidneys can no longer function on a daily basis. Based on studies, researchers and doctors have identified many contributing factors, such as diabetes and hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. In a new study, researchers examined diabetic adults and found that adults living in First Nations, which are made up of various Aboriginal people from Canada who are not Inuit or Métis, have doubled the risk of developing end-stage kidney disease.

For this study, the researchers first examined the incidence rate of diabetes from 1980 to 2005 in Saskatchewan, a Canadian province. The team reported that there were 8254 First Nations residents diagnosed with diabetes and 82,175 non-First Nations adults with diabetes. The mean age during the diagnosis for the First Nations people was 47.2 whereas the mean age for non-First nations people was 61.6. The researchers also reported that 82 percent of the First Nations people developed diabetes before turning 60.

The researchers then looked at end-stage renal disease. They found that 200, or 2.4 percent, of First Nations people had end-stage renal disease whereas only 0.7 percent of the non-First Nations people had the same illness. When it came to mortality rates that were not related to end-stage kidney disease, 18 percent of First Nations adults and 34.6 percent of non-First Nations adults died. The team also reported that men were twice as likely than women to have end-stage renal disease.

"Because they are younger than non-First Nations individuals when diabetes first develops, First Nations individuals are more likely to survive long enough for end-stage renal disease to occur, presumably because of lower cardiovascular mortality," Dr. Roland Dyck, a professor with the departments of Community Health and Epidemiology, and Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, wrote with colleagues.

The authors added, "The implications of our findings are sobering. Among First Nations adults, type 2 diabetes is increasingly occurring during younger decades of life. Among First Nations children, the prevalence of diabetes tripled between 1980 and 2005, and the offspring of these individuals are in turn experiencing an even higher risk of childhood type 2 diabetes. ...Without substantial improvements in the prevention and treatment of this disease, this pattern will likely translate into increasing numbers of First Nations people with diabetes-related end-stage renal disease and possibly other chronic diabetic complications."

The authors stressed the importance of incorporating preventative habits, such as eating a healthier diet and including more exercise, earlier on in life. The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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