Kidney disease poses highest early – death risk among diabetics

While living well with type 2 diabetes is possible, when kidney disease emerges the risk of premature death increases significantly, researchers reported on January 24, 2013 in a study published online by the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Maryam Afkarian, MD, PhD, of the University of Washington in Seattle and colleagues evaluated 10-year mortality rates in 15,046 US adults.

They found that subjects without diabetes or kidney disease had a 10-year mortality rate of 7.7%, those with diabetes but without kidney disease had a 11.5% mortality rate, and those with diabetes and kidney disease had a 31.1% mortality rate.

“People with type 2 diabetes have many other risk factors for cardiovascular disease and mortality, so we expected that kidney disease would predict a part, but not a majority, of higher mortality associated with type 2 diabetes, said Dr. Afkarian. “To our surprise, we found that even in the medically complex patients with type 2 diabetes, kidney disease is a very powerful predictor of premature death,” she added.

The researchers concluded that since, among people with type 2 diabetes, the subgroup with kidney disease has the greatest mortality risk, targeting intensive risk factor modification among this sub-group could have the greatest impact on overall mortality rates.

They also noted that preventing kidney disease in the first place could be an effective method of reducing mortality among people with diabetes.