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.