Recommendations for Policy Makers
A large portion of the population is at risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, the majority of both the general and medical populations is unaware of this risk. The same goes for policy makers. Yet, policy solutions are needed to prevent or slow the progression of kidney disease. Currently, prevention
measures are far from sufficient and participation in screening and early treatment remains unequal across different countries and should urgently be improved, especially in high-risk populations.
Many causes of chronic kidney disease could be prevented by primary intervention, i.e. by reducing or eliminating the lifestyle risk factors that are common to the majority of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as smoking, alcohol, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity. Each year, 790,000 European citizens die prematurely due to these risk factors. Despite this, only a
minor proportion of health expenditure is spent on disease prevention.
Secondary prevention is equally important for the early detection of chronic kidney disease and slowing its progression. Screening is recommended in high-risk population groups such as the elderly and people with diabetes, hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular disease or cancer. Increased awareness among patients and doctors in primary care would help to overcome these shortcomings.
We call on policymakers to:
- Increase awareness of the importance of kidney health in current and future EU initiatives.
- Eliminate or reduce the exposure of citizens to lifestyle-related risk factors for chronic kidney disease such as smoking, alcohol, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity.
- Implement communication campaigns on primary and secondary prevention of chronic kidney disease and other co-morbidities to raise awareness and increase screening.
- Promote EU projects and the exchange of best practices to train primary care workers, cardiologists, endocrinologists and other relevant healthcare professionals on the identification of at-risk patients, chronic kidney disease symptoms, and on the importance of early detection.
- Promote EU guidelines, together with relevant medical societies and patient organisations on regular and systematic albuminuria screening for high-risk populations.
- Collect comparable data on chronic kidney disease and other NCDs at EU level, including health economic data to highlight the cost-effectiveness of primary and secondary prevention interventions.
- Support integrated, multi-disciplinary care to prevent and manage chronic kidney disease co-morbidities, multi morbidity and complications.