Kidney Disease - Asians
Asian Americans have a higher risk for kidney disease and kidney failure than white Americans. The reasons why are not fully understood. However, diabetes seems to be one reason. High blood pressure, diet, and access to healthcare may also play a role.
Diabetes is a growing problem among Asian Americans. According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the risk of diabetes is 18% higher among Asian Americans than white Americans. Having diabetes can lead to kidney disease. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease and kidney failure.
The rise in diabetes among Asian Americans may be the result of eating an American or "western" diet. Studies have shown that Asians who move to the United States and adopt an American diet have higher rates of diabetes. The traditional Asian diet, which consists mostly of plants and fish, is low in fat. But the American diet is high in calories and fat. According to multiple studies, Japanese Americans who live in the United States have much higher rates of diabetes than Japanese who live in Japan. Likewise, Chinese Americans have higher rates of diabetes than Chinese who live in rural China.
Heredity and body composition may also play a role. Studies show that Asian Americans get diabetes at a much lower body weight than white Americans. In other words, the risk for diabetes rises sharply in Asian Americans with even a small amount of weight gain above the appropriate target for their ethnicity.
Lack of exercise may also be a factor. As with diet, Asian Americans may also be adopting an inactive lifestyle. In past generations, many Asian Americans had jobs that required physical labor. That is not the case today. Lack of exercise has been shown to increase a person's risk for diabetes.