Fighting the unbearable lightness of neglecting kidney health: the decade of the kidney

Raymond Vanholder, Lieven Annemans, Aminu K Bello, Boris Bikbov, Daniel Gallego, Ron T Gansevoort, Norbert Lameire, Valerie A Luyckx, Edita Noruisiene, Tom Oostrom, Christoph Wanner, Fokko Wieringa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


A brief comprehensive overview is provided of the elements constituting the burden of kidney disease [chronic kidney disease (CKD) and acute kidney injury]. This publication can be used for advocacy, emphasizing the importance and urgency of reducing this heavy and rapidly growing burden. Kidney diseases contribute to significant physical limitations, loss of quality of life, emotional and cognitive disorders, social isolation and premature death. CKD affects close to 100 million Europeans, with 300 million being at risk, and is projected to become the fifth cause of worldwide death by 2040. Kidney disease also imposes financial burdens, given the costs of accessing healthcare and inability to work. The extrapolated annual cost of all CKD is at least as high as that for cancer or diabetes. In addition, dialysis treatment of kidney diseases imposes environmental burdens by necessitating high energy and water consumption and producing plastic waste. Acute kidney injury is associated with further increases in global morbidity, mortality and economic burden. Yet investment in research for treatment of kidney disease lags behind that of other diseases. This publication is a call for European investment in research for kidney health. The innovations generated should mirror the successful European Union actions against cancer over the last 30 years. It is also a plea to nephrology professionals, patients and their families, caregivers and kidney health advocacy organizations to draw, during the Decade of the Kidney (2020-30), the attention of authorities to realize changes in understanding, research and treatment of kidney disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1719-1730
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Kidney Journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of ERA-EDTA.


  • acute kidney injury
  • chronic kidney disease
  • dialysis
  • environment
  • epidemiology
  • health economy
  • kidney transplantation
  • mortality
  • non-communicable diseases
  • peritoneal dialysis


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