Diabetes and chronic kidney disease: an increasingly common multi-morbid disease in need of a paradigm shift in care

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Diabetes is considered the commonest cause of end-stage renal disease. The increasing incidence of obesity and an ageing population, together, will lead to a greater number of people with diabetes associated with chronic kidney disease that could either be secondary to diabetic nephropathy or of different aetiology. Ageing and obesity influence approaches to the management of diabetes and accurate assessment of kidney disease. People with diabetes and chronic kidney disease consume a disproportionate component of expenditure on medical care. Guidelines on managing diabetes and kidney disease do not recognize the complex multi-morbid nature of the process. In addition to managing glycaemia and monitoring renal function, the assessment and management of cardiovascular disease risk factors and cardiovascular disease itself need to be factored into care. People with diabetes and diabetic nephropathy are more vulnerable to retinopathy and foot complications requiring coordinated care. People with diabetes and chronic kidney disease are more prone to anaemia and metabolic bone disease than those without diabetes at similar stages of chronic kidney disease, further increasing their vulnerability to acute complications from cardiovascular disease, foot emergencies and fractures. People with diabetes and chronic kidney disease are also more prone to hospitalization with infections and acute kidney injury. Given the 30–40% prevalence of kidney disease amongst people with diabetes, potentially >2% of the adult population would fit into this category, making it vital that new surveillance models of supported care are provided for those living with diabetes and kidney disease and for primary care teams who manage the vast majority of such people.

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