More women than men have chronic kidney disease, and more men develop kidney failure

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In a study from the University Hospital of North Norway, scientists found although more women than men have chronic kidney disease (CKD), more men develop kidney failure.

They found kidney function was lower in middle-aged women than in men, but the subsequent rate of kidney function decline during aging was steeper among men.

Most people lose part of their kidney function when they get older, and because the population is aging worldwide, more people are developing CKD.

The Global Burden of Disease study predicts that CKD will be the fifth most common cause of years of life lost by 2040.

Kidney-related biological differences between women and men and gender differences in lifestyle-related risk factors have been proposed as potential explanations for the apparent contradiction.

In the study, the team examined 1,837 adults in northern Europe who did not have self-reported diabetes, CKD, or heart disease. Participants’ kidney function was measured in 2007–2009, 2013–2015, and 2018–2020.

The team found that women tended to have lower kidney function than men in 2007–2009.

Women’s kidney function then declined over time in a linear fashion, but men’s kidney function dropped more rapidly at older ages.

People with no major chronic diseases or risk factors for CKD maintained better kidney function, but health status did not explain the sex differences in kidney function decline.

This study is the first study that repeats accurate measurements of kidney function in relatively healthy women and men during aging.

It provides important knowledge regarding age-related loss of kidney function and sex disparities in the prevalence of CKD.

The study may in part explain why more women are diagnosed with early CKD and more men develop severe CKD and kidney failure during aging.

Accelerated loss of kidney function has been associated with premature death in previous studies.

The role of age-related loss of kidney function on healthy aging and life expectancy in women and men should be addressed in further studies.

If you care about kidney health, please read studies about painkillers that may harm your heart and kidneys, and common acid reflux drugs may increase your kidney disease risk.

For more information about kidney health, please see recent studies about drug duo that may treat kidney failure, and results showing these vegetables may protect against kidney damage in diabetes.

The study was conducted by Toralf Melsom et al and published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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