Study Evaluates Chronic Kidney Disease Impacts in the European Elderly

According to a story from blogs.biomedcentral.com, a research project called SCOPE H2020 focused on the impacts of chronic kidney disease screening of the elderly in the EU. The research included seven countries of Europe as well as Israel. Screening regimens for chronic kidney disease tend to vary from country to country and the research also aimed to compare between different programs. However, the study picked up many other findings as well.

About Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Chronic kidney disease is an illness in which the functionality of the kidneys is affected over time. This progressive disease can occur over a period of months or years and often results in eventual kidney failure. This disease often causes no symptoms at first. There are a number of risk factors for chronic kidney disease, such as diabetes, glomerulonephritis, family history, and high blood pressure. The cause is not known in all cases. As the disease progresses, symptoms such as leg swelling, confusion, fatigue, vomiting, loss of appetite, heart disease, bone disease, anemia, and high blood pressure may appear. Treatment may include dietary changes, certain medications, and, in later stages, dialysis or kidney transplant. The most common cause of death for people with chronic kidney disease is cardiovascular disease, which may appear before the kidneys completely shut down. To learn more about chronic kidney disease, click here.

Findings from SCOPE H2020

The research revealed that severe disease was linked to worsened or impaired quality of life among older people. The study included a total of 2,426 people aged 75 or older. As the population of developed nations (such as many in Europe) continue to age, the prevalence of cognitive impairments and kidney disease continues to increase. The scientists decided to investigate if there were a connection between them; however, the study results indicate that patients did not show increased rates of depression or mental impairment as the illness progressed in the elderly. 

As people age, their risk of falls and injuries from them begin to increase. The researchers wanted to see if chronic kidney disease and lower urinary tract symptoms were linked to a higher risk of falls or fall-related injury. Lower urinary tract symptoms were found to be a predictor of falls and injury, but the scientists said that there was no clear link to kidney disease, and that more research was necessary. Sarcopenia (loss of muscle function and mass) can be more severe in kidney disease patients. The study determined that it is often present alongside albuminuria (the presence of albumin protein in urine). 

As the kidneys begin to fail, malnutrition can become a serious problem for patients. In the patient sample, malnutrition wasn’t very common, but being obese or overweight was prevalent. Chronic kidney disease is closely linked to several other illnesses. The scientists investigated the impact of disease severity and physical capability and found that the illness can contribute substantially to multimorbidity patterns. Sensory impairments and hypertension were frequently seen and it was unusual for kidney disease to be present without other co-occurring illnesses. 

The researchers conclude by calling for greater standardization of screening methods and prioritizing early diagnosis in order to improve outcomes.

Click here to see the original study.

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