August 9, 2018
CHICAGO – According to a new review, approximately 30 million Americans – about 15 percent of adults – have chronic kidney disease, a number that is expected to increase in the next 20 years due to rising obesity rates and longer lifespans, but the majority of chronic kidney disease patients aren't receiving potentially lifesaving treatment.
"Medical Nutrition Therapy for Patients with Non-Dialysis-Dependent Chronic Kidney Disease: Barriers and Solutions" was compiled by a multidisciplinary team that included registered dietitian nutritionists, patient advocates and physicians from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the National Kidney Foundation, Loyola University Chicago and the University of New Mexico. It will be published in the October issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and is available online.
"MNT is the nutritional diagnostic, therapy and counseling service for the purpose of disease management furnished by a RDN or nutritional professional," said registered dietitian nutritionist Alison Steiber, the Academy's chief science officer and a co-author of the review.
"MNT by RDNs has been shown to improve health-related outcomes, quality of life and prevent or delay disease-related complications in patients living with CKD," Steiber said.
Nearly 90 percent of patients with chronic kidney disease never meet with a registered dietitian nutritionist, according to the review. Some physicians may lack confidence in MNT's effectiveness; others may be unaware that MNT is covered by Medicare Part B for patients who are not on dialysis. Patients may be reluctant to invest the time and money in the therapy if it is not covered by their insurance.
"Most patients don't understand how big a role their diet plays in the management of their kidney disease," said co-author Marsha Schofield, a registered dietitian and the Academy's senior director of governance. "Medical nutrition therapy helps patients with chronic kidney disease improve their blood sugar and blood pressure, which will slow the progression of the disease and even delay or prevent them from needing to have dialysis or a transplant."
"The Academy and the National Kidney Foundation have a long history of collaborating to advance the science and clinical practice around kidney disease," Schofield said. "Both of our organizations recommend MNT for all people with CKD."
The authors say more research is needed to study and remove barriers to obtaining MNT.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at eatright.org.