The Role of Gender in Chronic Kidney Disease

Idan Goldberg,1 *Ilan Krause1,2

1. Rabin Medical Center, Beilinson Campus, Petah Tikva, Israel.
2. Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Israel.
*Correspondence to ilank2@clalit.org.il

Disclosure: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest.
Received: 09.02.16 Accepted: 16.03.16
Citation: EMJ. 2016;1[2]:58-64.

Abstract

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common disease worldwide and is associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. This review discusses several aspects of the relationship between gender and CKD. While the prevalence of CKD tends to be higher in women, the disease is more severe in men, who also have a higher prevalence of end-stage renal disease. Most of the evidence in the current literature suggests a higher progression rate and mortality risk of CKD in men compared with women, except in post-menopausal women and diabetic patients. However, the decrease in glomerular filtration rate and the increase in the level of albuminuria are more prominent mortality risk factors among women. Sex hormones are thought to play a major role in the biological mechanisms associated with variability in CKD prevalence and characteristics between men and women. Animal studies have demonstrated the harmful influence of testosterone and protective influence of oestrogen on several biological processes that are involved in kidney injury. However, the role of sex hormones in explaining gender-related differences in CKD in humans has not yet been established. In summary, gender has an important influence on several aspects of CKD. Further research is needed to find additional gender-related characteristics in CKD and to identify the mechanisms of sexual dimorphism in CKD.

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