n South African Medical Journal - Significance, definition, classification and risk factors of chronic kidney disease in South Africa : CME - review




Renal dysfunction or chronic kidney disease (CKD) is found in 10% of the global population and is classified into five stages according to the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). No matter where a patient lives, estimation of the GFR is for decision-making and obtained by the simple measurement of a serum creatinine level. The objective of diagnosing CKD lies in its future prevention, early detection and proper treatment, which will prevent or delay functional deterioration.

Primary hypertension (PH) occurs in 25% of South Africa (SA)'s black population and is the putative cause of stage 5 CKD in 40 - 60% of these patients. Moreover, in this group, stage 5 CKD occurs at a relatively young age (35 - 45 years) compared with other population groups in whom stage 5 CKD resulting from PH usually occurs between 60 and 70 years of age. In the cohort study, PH has been found in 12 - 16% of black school learners (mean age 17 years) compared with 1.8 - 2% of other ethnic groups (mixed race, Asian, white). End-stage renal failure (ESRF) is the fifth most common cause of death in SA, excluding post-traumatic cases. In addition, undiagnosed or poorly controlled PH is a potent risk factor for other cardiovascular disease (CVD), e.g. congestive cardiac failure, myocardial infarction, stroke. Significant protein is also associated with CVD and protein >1 g/d is a significant risk factor for ESRF.


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