BACKGROUND: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a worldwide health problem, and promotion of the World Kidney Day has improved general population education and awareness of renal illnesses aimed at ameliorating disease prevention. The Kidney Day was also an opportunity for us to investigate risk factors for CKD in an Italian population. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 1,341 subjects from the general population living in the area of Ferrara, a town in the northeast of Italy, aged 50-70 years, were investigated. From each participant age, sex, smoking status, current antihypertensive medications, hypercholesterolemic and diabetic status, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and blood pressure (BP) were obtained. All subjects underwent dipstick urinalysis for the evaluation of proteinuria, hematuria and leukocyturia. RESULTS: Fifteen percent of patients were diabetics, and 20% were smokers. Mean BMI was 26.9 ± 4.3 kg/m(2), mean systolic BP was 133.7 ± 18.7 mmHg and mean diastolic BP 78.1 ± 9.9 mmHg. A total of 828 participants were not taking any antihypertensive drugs. In 24% of subjects, we found proteinuria, in 18% hematuria and in 16% leukocyturia. Proteinuria was significantly associated with age and diabetes, hematuria was associated with age, female sex and smoking status, and leukocyturia was associated with age and female sex. CONCLUSIONS: Urinary abnormalities are common in general population, and in many cases, various abnormalities overlap. These abnormalities could be associated with cardiovascular risk factors. We believe that our initiative, based on the experience of the World Kidney Day, could increase the awareness of general practitioners and general population of the risks of renal conditions
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