Study: Patients need wake-up call about link between kidney disease, diabetes

NEW YORK — A multicultural study that will appear in the March issue of the Journal of Renal Care underscored the relationship between kidney disease and diabetes, and the need for greater awareness of this link.

In this small study, 23 South Asian diabetes patients and 25 white diabetes patients between the ages of 34 years and 79 years — with an average age of just older than 70 years — were surveyed to note any differences in the experiences, knowledge and attitudes of the two groups.

The researchers, led by Gurch Randhawa, director of the Institute for Health Research at the University of Bedfordshire, and research fellow Emma Wilkinson, found that many of the patients studied were unaware of possible kidney problems before their referral to specialist services. Overall, patients felt that they had received limited information about possible complications when they were diagnosed with diabetes, the researchers noted.

"Our research shows that low awareness and lack of information about kidney problems are common in both the South Asian and white patients we spoke to," Randhawa said. "In some cases, this was exacerbated by language barriers. The findings also demonstrate that the long-term educational needs of patients who have had diabetes for many years are just as important as the need to make newly diagnosed patients aware of all the health risks they face."

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