A new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Chronic Kidney Disease Prognosis Consortium (CKD-PC) found that in general chronic kidney disease is similarly associated with a higher risk of death and end stage renal disease for both women and men. The findings were released online in advance of publication in BMJ.
Chronic kidney disease affects 10 to 16 percent of adults worldwide. Current thresholds for chronic kidney disease are based on two kidney measures, estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and albuminuria, a measure of protein in the urine. Because mildly reduced GFR is more common in women, and both kidney measures are affected by muscle mass, some have suggested that the definition of chronic kidney disease should be sex-specific.
According to the study, the overall risks of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality were higher in men at all levels of kidney function. However, both sexes experienced increased risks of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and end stage renal disease with lower estimated glomerular filtration rate and higher albuminuria, with only a slight difference in the strength of relationships between sexes.
"Our results contrast with some previous studies suggesting that the association of estimated glomerular filtration rate with mortality is weaker in women. We found the association between chronic kidney disease and mortality risk to be as strong in women as in men. Low estimated glomerular filtration rate or albuminuria should be considered at least as potent a risk factor in women as it is in men," said Josef Coresh, MD, PhD, MHS, the Consortium's principal investigator and professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of Epidemiology.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from more than 2 million participants from 46 cohort studies. The study participants included a diverse population from Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America. Fifty-four percent of the study populations were women.
"Associations of estimated glomerular filtration rate and albuminuria with mortality and renal failure by sex: a meta-analysis" was written by the CKD-PC, which includes approximately 200 collaborators and data from 40 countries.
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