, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 480-487,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 08 Feb 2013

Nephrology for the people: Presidential Address at the 42nd Regional Meeting of the Japanese Society of Nephrology in Okinawa 2012

Abstract

The social and economic burdens of dialysis are growing worldwide as the number of patients increases. Dialysis is becoming a heavy burden even in developed countries. Thus, preventing end-stage kidney disease is of the utmost importance. Early detection and treatment is recommended because late referral is common, with most chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients remaining asymptomatic until a late stage. Three-quarters of dialysis patients initiated dialysis therapy within 1 year after referral to the facility. Since its introduction in 2002, the definition of CKD has been widely accepted not only by nephrologists but also by other medical specialties, such as cardiologists and general practitioners. Japan has a long history of general screening for school children, university students, and employees of companies and government offices, with everybody asked to participate. The urine test for proteinuria and hematuria is popular among Japanese people; however, the outcomes have not been well studied. We examined the effects of clinical and laboratory data from several sources on survival of dialysis patients and also predictors of developing dialysis from community-based screening (Okinawa Dialysis Study, OKIDS). At an early CKD stage, patients are usually asymptomatic; therefore, regular health checks using a urine dipstick and serum creatinine are recommended. The intervals for follow-up, however, are debatable due to the cost. CKD is a strong risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease and death and also plays an important role in infection and malignancies, particularly in elderly people. People can live longer with healthy kidneys.