Diabetes kidney damage test 'missed'

Urine dipstick test A simple dipstick test checks for albumin levels

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A quarter of people with diabetes do not get the kidney checks they need to detect early signs of damage, a charity suggests.

Diabetes UK says data from the National Diabetes Audit in 2010/11 shows around 25% of people in England failed to get the urinary albumin check.

Just under 10,000 people in England and Wales needed treatment for diabetes-related kidney failure that year.

The charity said the figures were "concerning".

Kidney failure is a common complication in people with diabetes.

'Missing out'

Around three million people in the UK are thought to have diabetes, with most cases being Type 2.

Another 850,000 are thought to have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes,

There are a number of checks which people with diabetes should undergo each year - to ensure that potential complications including eye and foot problems are picked up early.

The urine check is one of two which can detect kidney problems.

Start Quote

All those people who are not getting this check are at increased risk of needing dialysis and ultimately of dying early”

End Quote Barbara Young, Diabetes UK

The second is a blood test which shows how well the kidneys are working.

More people have this - but Diabetes UK warns the urine test is also an essential part of the check-up.

However it says part of the problem could be as simple as patients forgetting to take a urine sample to their appointment.

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: "It is really concerning that a quarter of people with diabetes are missing out on a simple check that could identify kidney problems early enough to slow their progression.

"Kidney failure might not worry people with diabetes as much as other complications such as blindness and amputation, but it can have an equally devastating impact on quality of life.

"All those people who are not getting this check are at increased risk of needing dialysis and ultimately of dying early."

And she said the cost of treating kidney failure was part of the reason diabetes costs made up 10% of the NHS budget.

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