Context: Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease in the developed world. Over time, the prevalence of diabetic kidney disease (DKD) may increase due to the expanding size of the diabetes population or decrease due to the implementation of diabetes therapies.
Objective: To define temporal changes in DKD prevalence in the United States.
Design, setting, and participants: Cross-sectional analyses of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) from 1988-1994 (N = 15,073), NHANES 1999-2004 (N = 13,045), and NHANES 2005-2008 (N = 9588). Participants with diabetes were defined by levels of hemoglobin A(1c) of 6.5% or greater, use of glucose-lowering medications, or both (n = 1431 in NHANES III; n = 1443 in NHANES 1999-2004; n = 1280 in NHANES 2005-2008).
Main outcome measures: Diabetic kidney disease was defined as diabetes with albuminuria (ratio of urine albumin to creatinine ≥30 mg/g), impaired glomerular filtration rate (<60 mL/min/1.73 m(2) estimated using the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration formula), or both. Prevalence of albuminuria was adjusted to estimate persistent albuminuria.
Results: The prevalence of DKD in the US population was 2.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.8%-2.6%) in NHANES III, 2.8% (95% CI, 2.4%-3.1%) in NHANES 1999-2004, and 3.3% (95% CI, 2.8%-3.7%) in NHANES 2005-2008 (P <.001 for trend). The prevalence of DKD increased in direct proportion to the prevalence of diabetes, without a change in the prevalence of DKD among those with diabetes. Among persons with diabetes, use of glucose-lowering medications increased from 56.2% (95% CI, 52.1%-60.4%) in NHANES III to 74.2% (95% CI, 70.4%-78.0%) in NHANES 2005-2008 (P <.001); use of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors increased from 11.2% (95% CI, 9.0%-13.4%) to 40.6% (95% CI, 37.2%-43.9%), respectively (P <.001); the prevalence of impaired glomerular filtration rate increased from 14.9% (95% CI, 12.1%-17.8%) to 17.7% (95% CI, 15.2%-20.2%), respectively (P = .03); and the prevalence of albuminuria decreased from 27.3% (95% CI, 22.0%-32.7%) to 23.7% (95% CI, 19.3%-28.0%), respectively, but this was not statistically significant (P = .07).
Conclusions: Prevalence of DKD in the United States increased from 1988 to 2008 in proportion to the prevalence of diabetes. Among persons with diabetes, prevalence of DKD was stable despite increased use of glucose-lowering medications and renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors.