Chronic kidney disease and the aging population

1 University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada
2 Catholic University of Parana, Curitiba, Brazil
Correspondence to: no_reprints@med.ualberta.ca
Acknowledgements: Dr. Tonelli was supported by a Government of Canada research chair in the optimal care of people with chronic kidney disease.

Pediatr Med rodz Vol 9 Numer 4, p. 331–337
ABSTRACT

The proportion of older people in the general population is steadily increasing worldwide, with the most rapid growth in low- and middle-income countries(1). This demographic change is to be celebrated, because it is the consequence of socioeconomic development and better life expectancy. However, population aging also has important implications for society – in diverse areas including health systems, labor markets, public policy, social programs, and family dynamics( 2). A successful response to the aging population will require capitalizing on the opportunities that this transition offers, as well as effectively addressing its challenges. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an important public health problem that is characterized by poor health outcomes and very high health care costs. CKD is a major risk multiplier in patients with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke – all of which are key causes of death and disability in older people(3). Since the prevalence of CKD is higher in older people, the health impact of population aging will depend in part on how the kidney community responds. March 13, 2014 will mark the celebration of the 9th World Kidney Day (WKD), an annual event jointly sponsored by the International Society of Nephrology and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations. Since its inception in 2006, WKD has become the most successful effort to raise awareness among policymakers and the general public about the importance of kidney disease. The topic for WKD 2014 is “CKD in older people”. This article reviews the key links between kidney function, age, health and illness – and discusses the implications of the aging population for the care of people with CKD.