Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition in which the kidneys are damaged and cannot filter blood properly. Significant disparities in CKD rates and outcomes exist in ethnic minority populations, with kidney disease disproportionately affecting communities of color.

Black or African Americans are more than 3 times more likely while Hispanics or Latinos are 1.3 times more likely to have kidney failure compared to White Americans [1]. Such disparities in health outcomes are often associated with social inequities, including access to quality care.

Keep reading to learn more about the factors that play a role in determining kidney disease risk among ethnic minorities and how at-home healthcare solutions can play a role in addressing such health disparities.

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Disparities in kidney disease health outcomes

End-stage kidney disease (ESKD), also known as kidney failure is the final, permanent stage of chronic kidney disease. At this stage, the kidneys can no longer function on their own. Patients with this condition will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive.

Over 780,000 Americans are affected by end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), which is associated with excess morbidity and premature death [2]. Disparities in kidney disease manifests as ESKD overburden among racial and ethnic minority populations.

Black and Hispanic individuals have a 3.4-fold and 1.3-fold greater life risk of developing ESKD than their white counterparts [2]. Although they make up only 13.5% of the population, Black or African Americans also make up more than 35% of dialysis patients [3].

Factors contributing to disparities in kidney disease

There are numerous contributing factors that cause racial and ethnic minorities to disproportionately experience CKD. Present inequities have complex and interwoven social, behavioral, and medical causes.

Socioeconomic factors, such as income, education, and access to healthcare, play a large part in determining CKD risk among such populations. For example, socioeconomic status is closely related to ethnicity and independently correlated with health insurance and access to healthcare [4]. There is also research that has shown income inequality and residence in highly racially segregated areas contribute to increased mortality among certain ethnic groups, including those with ESKD [5].

Additionally certain risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and certain lifestyle factors are often more prevalent in minority populations, contributing to the increased risk of CKD [6].

In particular, diabetes and high blood pressure can contribute to complications, such as heart disease, which can negatively impact the kidneys. It is crucial to address these risk factors to prevent CKD and its progression in ethnic minority populations.

How to address disparities in kidney disease

Prompt diagnosis and treatment is crucial to prevent the progression of CKD and improve outcomes for those affected. However, many minority populations experience limited access to healthcare services, preventing early detection of CKD and exacerbating the disparities experienced by ethnic minorities.

Collaborations between public health departments, healthcare providers, and community organizations and strategies such as community screening programs, awareness campaigns, and improved access to healthcare services are crucial to reducing disparities in risk and outcomes for CKD among ethnic minorities.

Community-based screening programs can contribute to identifying high-risk populations, such as at-risk individuals in ethnic minority populations, and facilitating early CKD diagnosis and intervention. Offering culturally appropriate and customized approaches is necessary to meet and address the unique needs and barriers experienced by ethnic minorities.

How LetsGetChecked can help address disparities in kidney disease

Better prevention strategies and kidney health testing programs are pivotal to improving screening opportunities and increasing timely diagnosis. Accessible CKD screening programs are an integral part of this.

Improving access to CKD screening servicess is key to addressing CKD disparities in ethnic minorities. Our kidney screening solution enables timely diagnosis and treatment to prevent disease progression and reduce disparities in outcomes.

We provide health plans with a comprehensive home testing solution that removes traditional barriers to engagement - to make it easy for members to engage in screening. Together we can meet members where they are, addressing barriers to health equity and enabling better health outcomes for all.

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