WASHINGTON — An Emory University study released today found that Blacks are four times more likely to develop kidney failure than whites.
The study found that a condition that occurs when the kidneys are damaged and spill protein into the urine contributes to this increased risk.
Investigators analyzed information from 27,911 individuals (40.5% of whom were Black). Among the major findings:
•After an average follow-up of 3.6 years, 133 individuals developed kidney failure.
•There were 96 cases of kidney failure among Blacks and 37 among whites.
•Kidney failure was most common in individuals who excreted large amounts of protein in their urine.
•Blacks were more likely to excrete large amounts of protein in their urine than whites.
The investigators speculate that several factors may explain why Blacks tend to excrete more protein in their urine. These could include blood pressure and other heart-related factors, obesity, smoking, vitamin D levels, genetic differences, income, and birth weight. These factors may act at different times during an individual’s life to affect kidney health.
“Our large nationwide study brings attention to higher levels of urinary protein excretion as important contributors to the increased incidence of kidney failure experienced by Blacks,” said Dr. McClellan. Treating urinary protein excretion may help reduce racial disparities related to kidney failure as well as reduce the rate of progression to kidney failure for all individuals.
The study was conducted by William McClellan, MD of Emory University. Co-authors include David Warnock, MD, Suzanne Judd, PhD, Paul Muntner, PhD, Leslie McClure, PhD, George Howard, DrPh (University of Alabama at Birmingham); Reshma Kewalramani, MD (Amgen Corporation); Mary Cushman, MD (University of Vermont); and Britt Newsome, MD (Denver Nephrologists, PC).
The study appears in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN), a publication of the American Society of Nephrology.