Lifetime Risk of Kidney Failure

Kidney failure risk in old age is higher if issues not addressed earlier

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Rates of kidney failure are on the rise, which could lead to more people in poor health and higher health care costs. To stop these possible problems, we need to better understand our risk of kidney failure.

About one in 40 middle-aged men and one in 60 middle-aged women may develop kidney failure if they live into their 90s.

The risk of kidney failure may be even higher among people with poorer kidney function.

"Ask your doctor about healthy lifestyle choices to protect your kidneys."

In their recent study, Tanvir Chowdhury Turin, MD, PhD, of the University of Calgary in Canada, and colleagues wanted to find out the lifetime risk of developing kidney failure.

"Given the high morbidity [risk of health problems] and cost associated with kidney failure, we wanted to quantify the burden of disease for kidney failure in an easily understandable index to communicate information for patients, health practitioners and policy makers," said Dr. Turin.

In other words, because of the personal and public costs of kidney failure, Dr. Turin and colleagues wanted to better understand the risk of kidney failure in order to give useful information to patients, doctors and policy makers - all of whom can take steps to prevent kidney failure.

The researchers found that men had a 2.66 percent risk of kidney failure, while women had a 1.76 percent risk.

Men and women with lower kidney function had an even higher risk of kidney failure, compared to those with relatively good kidney function. More specifically, the risk of kidney failure was 7.51 percent in men with lower kidney function and 3.21 percent in women with lower kidney function, compared to 1.01 percent and 0.63 percent in men and women with relatively good kidney function.

Men of all ages and all levels of kidney function had a higher lifetime risk of kidney failure than women.

"These population-based estimates may assist individuals who make decisions regarding public health policy," the authors concluded.

For their research, Dr. Turin and colleagues studied 2,895,521 adults who started the study without kidney failure.

The research was published August 16 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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Review Date: 
August 19, 2012
Last Updated:
August 21, 2012