The Zzz of Disease

Children with chronic kidney disease suffer from sleep problems

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) According to an ongoing study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), children with chronic kidney disease have difficulty sleeping as well as other sleep-related issues.

The NIDDK study is currently tracking the health and progression of kidney disease in about 500 children between one and 16 years of age. For this particular report, researchers examined the link between the measured glomerular filtration rate (mGFR) - a way to gauge the kidneys' capacity to filter blood - and the incidence and severity of sleep problems and fatigue reported by study participants and their parents.

Nearly 30 percent of the children in the study said that they "often" or "almost always" had difficulty sleeping or low energy. Weakened mGFR was linked to self-reported weakness and falling asleep during the day. Children were more likely to report severe weakness if they had a low birth weight or had suffered from chronic kidney disease for more than a quarter of their life.

The researchers also found that fatigue (i.e. low energy and severe weakness) was significantly linked to a lower health-related quality of life among children with chronic kidney disease.

Because children are still going through physiological and intellectual development, they are especially vulnerable to the effects of chronic kidney disease and sleep difficulties, according to Maria-Eleni Roumelioti, M.D., former postdoctoral associate at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and her colleagues.

The authors conclude that health care professionals can significantly improve the health-related quality of life in young patients with chronic kidney disease by detecting sleep problems early, followed by aggressive management of those sleep problems.

Kidney disease affects significantly more adults than children. Nonetheless, there are about one or two new cases per 100,000 children each year.

The study appears in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 23, 2011
Last Updated:
February 25, 2011