What Women Should Know About CKD
Women & Kidney Disease
Although kidney disease can affect anyone, women face a specific set of issues in connection to chronic kidney disease. CKD affects about 195 million women throughout the world, being the 8th leading cause of death for women. With these statistics, it is important for women to know their risk for developing kidney disease and how it may affect them physically.
Women Are at An Increased Risk for CKD
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CKD more commonly affects women than men. In fact, certain types of diseases that cause CKD disproportionately affect women.
Lupus Nephritis (LN)
Lupus Nephritis (LN) is an autoimmune disease that affects various parts of the body, including the kidneys. With this condition, your immune system tracks healthy tissue in the body rather than fighting off infection. LN can affect people differently, but common signs and symptoms include:
- Blood in your urine
- Protein in your urine
- Edema, or having extra fluid in your kidneys
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
While anyone can develop this chronic health condition, about 90% of people living with lupus are women. More than half of people with lupus have kidney function problems. It is most common in women 15-44.
Pyelonephritis (kidney infection)
When urinary tract infections (UTIs) are left untreated, the bacteria can travel up through the urinary tract and into the kidneys, leading to pyelonephritis (kidney infection). Women are more likely to get UTIs and kidney infections than men because they have shorter urethras. The risk of developing a kidney infection also increases during pregnancy.
Kidney Disease and Reproductive Health
When it comes to CKD, there are certain health complications that are unique to women, especially in terms of reproductive health. CKD can reduce fertility and, after conception, a higher risk of pregnancy-related complications such as preeclampsia and acute kidney injury (AKI).
Caregiving and Kidney Disease
Women often find themselves the primary caregiver for others who live with kidney disease and dialysis. Their added responsibilities typically including their loved-one’s treatments, diet, appointments and psychosocial matters. In fact, 66% of informal caregivers are female, often experiencing stress, depression, social isolation, financial challenges, and a poorer quality of life.
It is important to keep in mind that kidney disease affects everyone, often in different ways.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your kidney health or that of someone you care for, be sure to speak with your healthcare team.
Visit our blog for more information about chronic kidney disease and how to live your best life.