Race and kidney disease


“Disparities across racial and ethnic groups in the United States exist in kidney disease care, including diabetes and blood pressure control, nephrology referral, dialysis modality, and transplantation, and with regard to both living and deceased kidney donation.”


Delgado C, Baweja M, Ríos Burrows N, et al. Reassessing the inclusion of race in diagnosing kidney diseases: an interim report from the NKF-ASN task force. J Am Soc Nephrol.


The facts: Prevalence of chronic kidney disease in Black Americans

Know the facts. Compared to other ethnic groups, Black Americans are at increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and kidney failure. 

Quote Black American

The barriers: CKD and racial disparities in healthcare

The higher number of Black Americans with kidney failure compared to the lower number of White Americans with kidney failure is a gap or health disparity. 

Illustration of kidneys covered in cysts.

The biology: Inherited disorders that affect the kidneys

Certain inherited disorders that affect the kidneys are more common in the Black community. These include lupus, polycystic kidney disease, and mutations to the APOL1 gene. 

Hear from the experts: Journal articles

Much of what influences our health happens outside of the healthcare provider’s office. Achieving good health requires more than good healthcare or a healthy lifestyle. It requires improving or sustaining conditions that keep people healthy. 

Here are some interesting articles and podcasts to further your understanding of racial disparities and CKD.

The Racial Inequities of Kidney Disease

Two physicians of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity discuss health disparities faced by Black patients with kidney disease. 

COVID-19, Racism, and Racial Disparities in Kidney Disease: Galvanizing the Kidney Community Response

This article from the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology discusses how racial health disparities and the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted treatment of kidney disease. The authors recommend specific actions that the community can take to help mitigate the disparities. The article contains a podcast. 

Racism, Kidney Function and More (Flip the Script Podcast)

Max, the podcast host, discusses racial disparities in kidney health with a nephrologist. Topics include race correction in kidney function calculation, dialysis and race, and end of life for people with kidney failure. 

America on Dialysis

Listen to the podcast or read the transcript of this Science Talk podcast. This podcast is one of a 5-part series in a collaboration between Undark and Scientific American. The series examines health disparities and conflicts of interest related to CKD treatment in the United States. 

Should Black People Get Race Adjustments in Kidney Medicine?

This short podcast and the accompanying article discuss the race correction adjustment used in estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) calculation and how it may contribute to racial health disparities.

Other pages you may be interested in!

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What is chronic kidney disease (CKD) and how is it treated?

Increase your understanding of CKD. Learn how to manage your life with CKD. Work with your healthcare team and review CKD treatment options and the different types of dialysis.

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