According to the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), one in nine adults in the U.S. has chronic kidney disease (CKD), yet most of them are undiagnosed and are not receiving medical treatment. More than 20 million other Americans are at increased risk for this serious condition, which may lead to kidney failure if left untreated. In addition to people with a family history of kidney disease, this high-risk population includes African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, American Indians and persons with diabetes or high blood pressure.

Because early diagnosis of kidney disease and proper treatment in the illness’s early stages can help prevent or delay kidney failure, the NKF has issued its new 2002 clinical practice guidelines for CKD. Developed as part of the foundation’s Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (K/DOQI), the guidelines were originally published in the February 2002 issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

The guidelines recommend that all individuals who are at high risk for chronic kidney disease have their blood pressure measured and their blood or urine tested for signs of impaired kidney function. Specifically, the NKF advises that checking for creatinine in the blood and for persistent protein in the urine (proteinuria) are the best tactics for diagnosing early kidney damage. The guidelines also include a five-stage clinical action plan based on the severity of the patient’s disease.

The NFK reports that the guidelines are the culmination of two years’ work by volunteer experts in nephrology, pediatric nephrology, epidemiology, laboratory medicine, nutrition, gerontology and social work who conducted a systematic study of evidence published in peer-reviewed medical journals.

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The new clinical practice guidelines for chronic kidney disease can be purchased in either book or CD-ROM formats for $25 each. The guidelines are also accessible online at the National Kidney Foundation’s Web site. For nurses interested in conducting patient education programs about CKD, the foundation offers the guidelines in a “caddy” format that includes a poster, patient guides and more; the caddy version sells for $60.

For more information, visit (click on “K/DOQI”) or contact the NKF at (800) 622-9010, email [email protected].

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