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What is the Risk of Developing Kidney Failure in Your Lifetime

  • Publish Date : 2012/08/18 - (Rev. 2018/11/12)
  • Author : American Society of Nephrology*
  • Contact : www.asn-online.org

Synopsis:

Study reveals how likely middle aged adults are to develop kidney failure during their lifetime.

Main Document

The kidneys are bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. They are located near the middle of the back, just below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine. The kidneys are sophisticated reprocessing machines. Every day, a person's kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood to sift out about 2 quarts of waste products and extra water. The wastes and extra water become urine, which flows to the bladder through tubes called ureters. The bladder stores urine until releasing it through urination.

What's your lifetime risk of developing kidney failure?

New study reveals the answer for middle-aged adults...

Highlights

  • Approximately 1 in 40 men and 1 in 60 women of middle age will develop kidney failure if they live into their 90s.
  • People with reduced kidney function face an even higher risk.
Diagram depicts location of human kidneys in the female and male bodies.
Diagram depicts location of human kidneys in the female and male bodies.

Kidney failure is on the rise and currently afflicts 2 million people worldwide.

How likely are middle-aged adults to develop kidney failure during their lifetime?

A study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN) provides some insights, which may be used to help set priorities related to kidney care and to increase public interest in the prevention of kidney disease.

Kidney failure takes a significant toll on both individuals and the public as a whole, causing poor health in patients and generating considerable health care costs. Despite kidney failure's impact, researchers don't have a good estimate of people's likelihood of developing it over their lifetime.

To find out, from 1997 to 2008 Tanvir Chowdhury Turin, MD, PhD, Brenda Hemmelgarn, MD, PhD (University of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada), and their colleagues studied 2,895,521 adult Alberta residents who were free of kidney failure at the start of the study. "Given the high morbidity 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.

Among the Major Findings

  • Approximately 1 in 40 men and 1 in 60 women of middle age will develop kidney failure if they live into their 90s. This equates to a 2.66% risk of kidney failure for men and a 1.76% risk for women.
  • The risk is higher in people with reduced kidney function (men: 7.51% and women: 3.21%) compared with people with relatively preserved kidney function (men: 1.01% and women: 0.63%).
  • The lifetime risk of kidney failure is consistently higher for men at all ages and kidney function levels, compared with women.

The authors note that the actual current life expectancy is approximately 80 years, which changes the risks somewhat.

"The observed probabilities indicate that, if the current estimates remains unchanged, approximately 1 in 93 (or approximately 1%) of men and 1 in 133 (or 0.8%) of women of middle age might develop kidney failure in their lifetime in Alberta, Canada," said Dr. Hemmelgarn.

Study co-authors include Marcello Tonelli, MD, (University of Alberta, in Alberta, Canada); Braden Manns, MD, Sofia Ahmed, MD, Matthew James, MD, PhD, and Pietro Ravani, MD, PhD (University of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada).

The authors reported no financial disclosures. The article, entitled "Lifetime Risk of End-Stage Renal Disease ," will appear online at jasn.asnjournals.org/ on August 16, 2012, doi: 10.1681/ASN.2012020164.

Founded in 1966, and with more than 13,500 members, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) leads the fight against kidney disease by educating health professionals, sharing new knowledge, advancing research, and advocating the highest quality care for patients.

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