Friday, 5 November 2010

Dialysis decrease in diabetics - good or bad?

We read of what at first seems like good news.

The number of people with diabetes going on to treatment for end stage renal disease in the US has dropped, according to a study reported on MedPageToday. It has fallen by a massive 35% between 1996 and 2007. But before you get excited, the question is why has it fallen?

Well, apparently the number of people with diabetes is increasing in the US, increasing a great deal in fact. So overall the actual number of diabetics who are on ESRD treatment has increased.

It is not really clear why the rate at which diabetics are moving on to dialysis has dropped - diabetes is still the single biggest cause of ESRD.

Does it mean more people have had undiagnosed diabetes and as medical techniques improve, many more cases have been reported, pushing up the apparent number of diabetics, while the number who need dialysis has only increased a little bit (presumably they'd be the worst cases, unlikely to go unrecognised)?

Further research is needed to settle this.