Women and Renal Disease
Renal (kidney) disease impacts the ability of the kidneys to clear waste and excess fluid from the body.1
Kidney disease in women can include acute kidney injury (AKI), in which there is a sudden, temporary, and sometimes fatal loss of kidney function. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a progressive form of the disease that causes reduced kidney function over a period of time. CKD can lead to end-stage renal disease (ESRD), in which there is total and permanent kidney failure.2 Kidney disease is closely linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes and is considered to be a major global public-health concern.3
It is challenging to assess the true impact of kidney disease on the global population, but studies have indicated that the disease tends to impact women more than men.4
- CKD affects 10–16% of the adult population worldwide.5
- Occurrence of kidney failure is increasing in women who are 50 years and older.
- About 40% of women with diabetes will develop CKD, which increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other complications of diabetes.
Risk Factors for Kidney Disease6
Kidney disease is a complex problem. Chronic kidney disease is usually caused by another medical condition. Primary risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes and hypertension, cardiovascular disease, a family history of kidney disease, age greater than 60 years, and ethnicity.
Secondary kidney-disease risk factors include unhealthy diet, obesity, autoimmune diseases, urinary-tract infections, systemic infections, and kidney loss, damage, injury, or infection.
Kidney Disease Symptoms in Women7
Most people with CKD have no symptoms, because the body can tolerate a significant reduction in kidney function. The presence of CKD may remain unrecognized until the disease is advanced. The only way to detect CKD is by using a blood test to estimate glomerular kidney function and a urine albumin test to assess kidney damage. Some kidney-disease symptoms in women may include:
- Increased tiredness
- Lack of concentration
- Poor appetite
- Nocturnal muscle cramping
- Swollen feet
- Puffiness around the eyes
- Dry, itchy skin
- Frequent nocturnal urination
In most cases, people who develop AKI are already in the hospital. When acute injury occurs, the kidneys are unable to function, upsetting the body’s chemical balance and resulting in dizziness and little or no urine output.
Related Diseases and Conditions
- Cardiovascular disease
- Pregnancy complications
- Vitamin D deficiency
Caring for Women with Renal Disease
The diagnostic workup for kidney disease includes diagnostic imaging, laboratory diagnostics, and point-of-care testing to assess kidney status and detect the risk or presence of associated diseases.
Siemens Diagnostic Solutions for Renal Disease
1Website [Internet]. [cited 2013 Mar 18] Available from: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Kidney+Disease
2Diabetes and Kidney Disease - Time to Act. International Diabetes Federation, 2003.
3Website [Internet]. [cited 2013 Mar 18] Available from: http:/emedicine.medscape.com/article/238798-overview#aw2aab6b2b2
4Zhang QL, Rothenbacher D. Prevalence of chronic kidney disease in population-based studies: Systematic review. BMC Public Health. 2008,8:117. [cited 2013 Mar 19] Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2377260/
5Website [Internet]. [cited 2013 Aug] Available from: http://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2013/coresh_gender_ckd.html
6Levey AS, et al. Chronic kidney disease as a global public health problem: approaches and initiatives – a position statement from Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO). International Society of Nephrology. 2007. Available from: http://www.Kidney-international.org
7Davita Health website. Available from: http://www.davita.com/kidney-disease/causes/assessing-your-risk/women's-health-risks-and-chronic-kidney-disease/e/5012