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Aging Male. 2007 Sep;10(3):113-37.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the elderly -- a geriatrician's perspective.

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  • Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, Missouri 63104, USA. dev28@yahoo.com


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is becoming increasingly prevalent among many different populations all over the world, including the US and Europe. Its multitude of complications with devastating outcomes leads to a significantly higher risk for cardio-vascular and all-cause mortality in an individual. However, it is clear now that early detection of CKD might not only delay some of the complications but also prevent them. Therefore, various important public health organizations all over the world have turned their focus and attention to CKD and its risk factors, early detection and early intervention. Nevertheless, the general goals in preventing the increase in CKD and its complications are far from being completely achieved. Why is this so? What is the magnitude and complexity of the problem? How is it affecting the population - are there differences in its affection by age, gender or frail elderly versus the robust? Are we modifying the risk factors appropriately and aggressively? Are there subtle differences in managing the risk factors in those on dialysis versus the non-dialysis CKD patients? Is it important to treat anaemia of CKD aggressively, will it make a difference in the disease progression, its complications or to quality of life? What do these unfortunate individuals commonly succumb to? What do we advise patients who refuse dialysis or those who desire dialysis or transplant? Are there useful non-dialytic treatment recommendations for those who refuse dialysis? What is the role of the physicians caring for the elderly with CKD? When should the primary care givers refer a CKD patient to a nephrologist? The key to eventually controlling incident and prevalent CKD and improve quality of life of affected individuals, lies in not only knowing these and many other vital aspects, but also in applying such knowledge compulsively in day-to-day practice by each and every one us. As CKD is increasingly a disease of the elderly with men being affected more, this review details fairly comprehensively the vital aspects of CKD, especially from a primary care geriatrician's practical standpoint.

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