Black and south Asian kidney health

Black and south Asian people are three to five times more likely to have kidney failure than white people, but many are unaware of the condition.

If you are black or south Asian, you're more likely to have diabetes and high blood pressure than the general population. This means you're also more likely to develop kidney problems, which are both common causes of kidney disease.

Kidney Research UK is a national charity that raises awareness of kidney disease among black and south Asian communities.

"Many black and south Asian people know about the higher prevalence of diabetes and high blood pressure in their communities, but they don't realise the direct link between these conditions and kidney failure," says Kidney Research UK's Neerja Jain. 

"Kidney disease is also more likely to be progressive (worsen to the point of kidney failure) in some black and Asian groups," she says.

"South Asian patients with diabetes are 10 times more likely to go on to have kidney failure than white Caucasians with diabetes," says Neerja. "So it's vital that diabetes and blood pressure in this group is well-controlled to reduce the likelihood of complications such as kidney damage."

Should you have a kidney test?

You're at higher risk of kidney disease if you're black or south Asian and also have:

If you're at higher risk, visit your GP and ask to be examined for kidney disease. This will involve measuring your blood pressure and having a urine and blood test to see how well your kidneys are working. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you should be routinely tested anyway.

Could you donate a kidney?

Black and south Asian people in the UK often wait longer for a kidney transplant than other ethnic groups, so more people from these groups are needed to join the Organ Donor Register. That's because they are more likely to share the same tissue type and blood group as other black or south Asian people, reducing the risk of the body rejecting the donated kidney.

Page last reviewed: 20/03/2015

Next review due: 30/11/2017


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