According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 10% of adult U.S. population have some form of kidney disease. Kidney disease can have many different causes. High blood pressure and diabetes are the two most common causes of kidney disease in the United States. Some experts question whether high blood pressure is in fact a common cause of kidney disease and raise the question that this diagnosis often obscures subtle glomerular disease.

In addition, more than 100 different type of disease, some inherited, some acquired can affect the kidneys. The majority of these disease can be considered rare disease. Rare diseases are notoriously difficult to diagnose and to treat. There are many reasons to why this is the case, and perhaps one of the most important is the difficulty for clinicians and scientist to meet enough patients to study their disease and outcomes.

As mentioned above, high blood pressure and diabetes are the two most common causes of kidney disease in the United States. When diabetes affects the kidneys, it is often in form of injury to the Glom (doctors refer to it as diabetic glomerulopathy). Each kidney has approximately 500,000 to 1,000,000 “Gloms”.  These Gloms are barely visible to the eye, but are one of the most complex filters nature has ever built. Blood flows through them, and gets filtered 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.  These filters are so delicate, that Injury to only a fraction of them can lead to “leakage” of protein or blood in urine. Indeed, protein in urine can often be the very first measurable sign of damage from diabetes to the human body. In addition to diabetes or high blood pressure, more than 100 different types of disease also affect the Glom, and can lead to protein or blood in urine.

Ongoing damage to the Gloms can ultimately lead to irreversible scarring of the kidneys. Some forms of kidney disease can be treated. It is important to know that early on, chronic kidney disease does not cause any symptoms. The only way to know if someone has damage to the Glom or has kidney disease, is through blood and urine test. Luckily, there are treatment options for several forms of kidney disease, and often the progression of chronic kidney disease can be slowed or prevented.