Kidney disease and aging: A reciprocal relation

Jeroen P. Kooman*, Frank M. van der Sande, Karel M.L. Leunissen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Web of Science)


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) are overrepresented in elderly patients. This provides specific challenges for the treatment, as the start of dialysis in vulnerable elderly patients may be associated with a rapid decline in functional performance. However, prognosis in elderly patients with ESRD is quite variable and related to the presence of comorbidity and geriatric impairments. The decision to start dialysis in elderly patients should always be based on shared decision making, which may be aided by the use of prediction models which should however not be used to withhold dialysis treatment. The treatment of ESRD in elderly patients should be based on a multidimensional treatment plan with a role for active rehabilitation. Moreover, there also appears to be a reciprocal relationship between aging and CKD, as the presence of geriatric complications is also high in younger patients with ESRD. This has led to the hypothesis of a premature aging process associated with CKD, resulting in different phenotypes such as premature vascular aging, muscle wasting, bone disease, cognitive dysfunction and frailty. Prevention and treatment of this phenotype is based on optimal treatment of CKD, associated comorbidities, and lifestyle factors by established treatments. For the future, interventions, which are developed to combat the aging process in general, might also have relevance for the treatment of patients with CKD, but their role should always be investigated in adequately powered clinical trials, as results obtained in experimental trials may not be directly translatable to the clinical situation of elderly patients. In the meantime, physical exercise is a very important intervention, by improving both physical capacity and functional performance, as well as by a direct effect on the aging process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-159
Number of pages4
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue numberPart B
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • Aging
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Dialysis
  • Frailty
  • Prediction models
  • Premature aging
  • CKD
  • AGE

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