Friday, April 25, 2014
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Kidney failure rates higher among First Nations diabetics; diabetes sets in sooner

Helen Branswell / The Canadian Press

TORONTO - A new study says First Nations adults who develop Type 2 diabetes do so more than a decade earlier than non-native people, and have double the risk of going on to develop kidney failure.

The study, which looked at Type 2 diabetes cases in Saskatchewan, found that the mean age for developing diabetes among First Nations people was 47.

The mean age at which non-aboriginal people develop Type 2 diabetes was 61 years old.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are common causes of kidney disease, which can lead to end-stage renal failure after years of progressive decline in kidney function.

The study's authors say that because First Nations people develop diabetes at a younger age, they are more likely to get to the point where they develop renal failure.

They found that end-stage disease occurred in 2.4 per cent of First Nations people who had diabetes, compared to less than one per cent in non-aboriginal people with diabetes.

The study, which looked at 25 years worth of diabetes cases, was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The authors called the implications of their findings "sobering."

"Among First Nations adults, Type 2 diabetes is increasingly occurring during younger decades of life. Among First Nations children, the prevalence of diabetes tripled between 1980 and 2005, and the offspring of these individuals are in turn experiencing an even higher risk of childhood Type 2 diabetes," they said.

"Without substantial improvements in the prevention and treatment of this disease, this pattern will likely translate into increasing numbers of First Nations people with diabetes-related end-stage renal disease and possibly other chronic diabetic complications."

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