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Males Affected More Than Females When It Comes To Kidney Failure


The battle of the sexes continues, and this time the debate lies within kidney failure.

Kidneys are vital organs within the body that regulate fluid balance, filter out toxic waste from the blood, and balance out acid/base and electrolytes, as well as other key and important functions.

In fact, while many take what their kidneys do for granted, the truth is that if these organs were to stop working, then a life-threatening situation could arise.

While dialysis or kidney transplant (otherwise known as renal replacement therapy, or RRT for short) can save lives; patients who have kidney function replaced with machines over a period of time – or a transplant – do suffer with shortened life expectancies. This is a big factor as to why kidney failure needs to be prevented at all costs. While it can be treated, it does rob individuals of living healthy, active, and normal lives.

An interesting recent data analysis in the ERA/EDTA Registry reveals that males are affected more often than females when it comes to kidney failure.

Over 26,400 males and just over 14,800 females embarked on RRT in 2016. When it came to aging adults (75 years or older), the difference in kidney failure between the sexes was much more striking, with the males over two times higher than their female counterparts in respect to this condition.

What could the reasons be? One can only speculate. A key factor could be the damaging effects testosterone has on kidney function, versus the protective effects that estrogens has for females. To boot, older females tend to choose overall conservative care versus RRT.

Still, it seems as if diabetes or hypertension might also play a role in all this as well. There are clear gender differences when it comes to the severity and incidence of hypertension. It seems more likely in men, and there is a prevention possibility if lifestyle changes are made.  

News Medical advised that the analysis also provided information around males participating in RRT due to glomerulonephritis/sclerosis and diabetes; and the figures were over double than that of women. Once again, lifestyle played a key role in all of this, as well as therapy strategies.

Lastly, females seemed to have a more positive outcome when it came to certain forms of glomerulonephritis, that is focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), as well as, for example, membranous (MGN), which could be the reason around less females having to start dialysis due to these illnesses.

Perhaps the best way to reduce chronic kidney illness in males at the end of the day is concentrating on controlling other risk factors, looking closer at lifestyle alterations, as well as early detection and warning signs; with increased public education around the condition and symptoms as a good start to help spread the message and thus, decrease the number of males you may have to deal with kidney failure in the future.