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World Kidney Day reaches beyond Nephrology!

On World Kidney Day we have asked the five medical disciplines which are closest to nephrology, if kidney diseases impact their specialty.

Carmine Zoccali
Prof. Carmine Zoccali

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is not only a very risky condition, but is also one of the diseases whose prevalence increased in the period from 1990 to 2013. We are still not sure whether we might just be seeing the tip of the iceberg – we may have to fear a further rise in CKD patients because the prevalence of diabetes and hypertension, two conditions that often lead to kidney failure, has risen dramatically worldwide in recent decades. Even now, the average age standardised mortality rate due to low kidney function (GFR) is 21 deaths per 100,000 [1]. In particular, the cardiovascular death toll from CKD is huge: In 2013, there have been 1.2 million cardiovascular deaths attributed to CKD [2]. The death rate in CKD is incredibly high! AIDS, for example, accounts for “only” 1.9 deaths per 100,000 [3] – but think about all the campaigning with celebrities and the resulting recognition of HIV as a priority health issue. Every child has heard of these three letters, but only very few have ever heard of the three letters CKD, even though the number of people who die from kidney deterioration is eleven times higher.

The idea of World Kidney Day is to shed light on kidney disease in order to raise awareness, especially among politicians and other stakeholders, of this health issue and its threatening dimensions, and to provide education regarding prevention strategies.

It is a little-known fact that kidney health is essential for many other organ systems to function. When the kidneys stop working, other organs are severely affected. In a sense, therefore, we can say that kidneys are at the “heart of health”, and that nephrology is at the “heart” of internal medicine. Kidney diseases impact on all five of the medical specialties we asked.  So nephrologists need to collaborate closely with doctors in other internal medical disciplines – and vice versa. The ERA-EDTA is eager to initiate new collaborations and to intensify existing fruitful ones – and we are happy that all five neighbouring disciplines were interested.

Read the interviews below and you will realise that kidneys are at the “heart of health”!


 Prof. de Simone

Professor de Simone, European Society of Cardiology (Vice Chair, Council on Hypertension of the European Society of Cardiology)


Prof. Marshall

Professor Marshall, European Association for the Study of Diabetes


Professor Tsioufis

Professor Tsioufis, President of the European Society of Hypertension


Professor Landewe

Professor Landewe, European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR)


Prof Amanda Howe

Prof Amanda Howe, President of the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA)



Yours sincerely,

Professor Carmine Zoccali

ERA-EDTA President


[1] GBD 2013 Mortality and Causes of Death Collaborators. Global, regional, and national age-sex specific all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 240 causes of death, 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Lancet. 2015 Jan 10;385(9963):117-71. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61682-2. Epub 2014 Dec 18.

[2] GBD 2015 Mortality and Causes of Death Collaborators. Global, regional, and national life expectancy, all-cause mortality, and cause-specific mortality for 249 causes of death, 1980-2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. Lancet. 2016 Oct 8;388(10053):1459-1544. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31012-1.

[3] Age-Adjusted Mortality Rate for HIV Disease - https://www.kff.org/hivaids/state-indicator/age-adjusted-hiv-mortality-rate/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D


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