Diabetes-Related Kidney Failure in Native Americans Declined at Fastest Rate


Officials noted a 54% decline in kidney failure in this population between 1996 and 2013, more than any racial and ethnic group.

Diabetes-related kidney failure among Native American adults (American Indians/Alaskan Natives) decreased 54% between 1996 and 2013, following the implementation of population-based approaches to diabetes management and improvements in clinical care begun by the Indian Health Service (IHS) in the mid-1980s, according to a report in the CDC's Vital Signs.

Native Americans have a greater chance of developing diabetes than any other US racial/ethnic group. About 2 of 3 Native Americans with kidney failure have diabetes, according to the report. The rate of diabetes-related kidney failure in Native Americans has declined faster than any racial/ethnic group in the United States.

“The 54% decline in kidney failure from diabetes followed implementation of public health and population approaches to diabetes as well as improvements in clinical care by the IHS,” Mary L. Smith, Indian Health Service principal deputy director said during a press conference hosted by the CDC. “We believe these strategies can be effective in any population. The patient, family, and community are all key partners in managing chronic diseases, including diabetes.”

The report attributed many of the improvements to better access to medicine, specifically an increase in the use of medicine to protect kidneys, from 42% to 74% in just 5 years. The report also noted better blood pressure and blood sugar control between the 1990s and 2013. Additionally, the report noted that more than 60% of Native Americans with diabetes aged 65 years and older had a urine test for kidney damage (2015) compared to 40% of the Medicare diabetes population (2013).


Bullock A, Burrows NR, Narva AS, et al. Vital Signs: Decrease in Incidence of Diabetes-Related End-Stage Renal Disease among American Indians/Alaska Natives — United States, 1996—2013. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6601e1.

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