New Treatments For Chronic Kidney Disease Need To Keep Patients Employed, Study Says

According to an article from Nephrology News and Issues, medical experts are calling for new treatments for chronic kidney disease that will allow patients to continue working. Although treatments for kidney disease have seen significant improvements over the years, the number of people who are working after they start dialysis treatment is still low.

In chronic kidney disease (CKD) the function of the kidneys gradually declines over a period of months or years. While initially there may be no symptoms, they soon develop as kidney function declines. Symptoms include fatigue, swelling in the legs, loss of appetite, vomiting, heart disease, bone disease, and high blood pressure. Chronic kidney disease is often caused by other health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure. As the kidneys start to fail entirely, dialysis or kidney replacement becomes a necessity. Dialysis treatment can be time consuming, and this can be all it takes for patients to put an end to their careers. To learn more about chronic kidney disease, click here.

The study looked at data from patients who began dialysis from 1996 to 2013. Throughout this period, employment rates remained consistently low, at around 23 or 24 percent. The research also revealed that 38% of patients that were employed six months before they began dialysis treatment quit working once they began. However, after controlling factors such as nearby community employment rates and other patient characteristics, the employment rate did increase slightly over time. For example, patients who started between 2008 and 2013 were 4.7% more likely to be employed compared to patients from earlier years. CKD is one of the few conditions in which patients qualify for Medicare coverage no matter their age. While Medicare coverage has allowed patients with CKD to have the access to medical procedures that they need in order to survive, these procedures do not make it easy for patients to continue working.

The effort to increase employment rates is challenging, but other studies have shown that patients who are able to access dialysis treatment in their own homes instead of having to travel to a center are more likely to be employed. The researchers recommend increased access to in-home options for treatment and vocational training opportunities as possible ways to increase the number of people with CKD that are employed.

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