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How kidney disease affects women

The theme of this year’s World Kidney Day is ‘Kidneys and Women’s Health’. Learn more about why this topic is important.

Women’s health is a key consideration on World Kidney Day because it’s also International Women’s Day, and both campaigns aim to help females remain mindful about their health and wellbeing. Recent research states that chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects approximately 195 million women worldwide, with this gender appearing to be slightly more at risk at an average prevalence of 14% in women and 12% in men (, 2018).

Why are women more likely to get kidney disease?

There are two main reasons CKD affects more women than men.

  1. Urinary tract infections (UTI) are more common in women. 
    UTIs are responsible for roughly 10 million healthcare visits every year. Left untreated or not adequately treated, bacteria could travel to the kidneys and cause a more serious condition called pyelonephritis. UTIs are also more common during pregnancy, so it’s important to act quickly and inform your doctor if you suspect you have an infection.

  2. The weight factor. 
    A high body mass index (BMI) is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease, kidney diseases, diabetes and some cancers as well as musculoskeletal disorders.

What women should consider to stay safe

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the progression of chronic kidney disease is slower in women than in men. Sufferers often don’t experience symptoms of kidney problems, even with as much as 90% loss of kidney function. At this point the condition is largely irreversible and a patient could be in need of a kidney transplant

As always, it’s important to speak to your doctor about any concerns you might have and to stick to a regular screening schedule. Find out more about kidney health below, including preventative measures you can take.