Study: Black Kids With Kidney Disease Have Worse Anemia
African-American children with mild to moderate kidney
disease have worse anemia than their
white counterparts, report researchers from the Johns
Hopkins Children's Center in what is believed
to be the first study of anemia among children with milder
forms of the disease. Anemia, defined as
abnormally low levels of red blood cells, is a key
indicator of kidney disease status. Left untreated,
prolonged anemia can affect quality of life, speed disease
progression and eventually lead to heart
"We've known for some time that racial disparities in
anemia exist among adults and children
with severe kidney disease, but it was interesting to find
racial gaps in anemia, even in children who
are still in the early stages of the disease," said lead
investigator Meredith Atkinson, an assistant
professor of pediatrics.
Of the 359 children with chronic kidney disease
enrolled in the Johns Hopkins-led study, more
than half (52 percent) of the black children had anemia,
compared to 40 percent of white children. All
children in the study were under the care of a pediatric
nephrologist, and some were already receiving
medication promoting the production of red blood cells.
The investigators say that the findings should be a
red flag to pediatricians that they should
screen black patients aggressively, even if they are in the
early stages of the disease and even if they
are already receiving anemia treatment.
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