Siblings of African-Americans With Diabetes Often Have Kidney Problems, Too

If you’re an African-American with diabetes and kidney disease, chances are good that your brother or sister might have kidney disease, too.

Researchers at Wake Forest University in North Carolina checked the siblings of 66 African-Americans with type 2 diabetes and kidney disease and found that more than 65 percent of the original subjects had one or more brothers and sisters with kidney abnormalities and no symptoms. Of the siblings with kidney abnormalities, 132 had diabetes and 13 did not.

More than 60 percent of the subjects had at least one sibling with a urine-albumin clearance ratio between 30 and 300 mg/g. Also, almost 35 percent had one or more siblings with a clearance rate greater than 300, and nearly 24 percent had at least one sibling with an elevated serum creatinine level—another indicator of kidney disease.

The researchers propose that the siblings of African-Americans with type 2 diabetes and kidney disease need to be screened, in order to slow down the “epidemic” of end-stage renal disease in people with diabetes.

American Journal of Kidney Diseases, September 2002

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