Seniors face a greater risk of a number of health issues, and a new study suggests that chronic kidney disease may be one of the most significant threats to their well-being. Researchers found that the number of adults 80 and older who have CKD has increased considerably over the last 20-plus years, a growing prevalence that has impacted a large swath of the adult population, according to results published in Journal of the American Medical Association.
To assess seniors' kidney function, researchers relied on answers to the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, which was conducted between 1988 and 2010. The team was specifically interested in glomerular filtration rate, which measures how fast blood flows through certain filters in the kidneys. After analyzing the results concerning 3,500 adults 80 an older, researchers found that GFR was present in about 41 percent of people between 1988 and 1994. However, that number rose to about 51 percent between 2005 and 2010.
Given the rising prevalence, study researchers say that "efforts to address CKD among the oldest old may be necessary."
Raises risk of other conditions
The results are particularly worrisome, because CKD can raise the chances that seniors develop other conditions such as kidney failure and cardiovascular disease. According to the National Institutes of Health, seniors are at a greater risk for CKD for a number of reasons, largely due to the fact that the overall kidney tissues decrease and blood vessels that supply kidneys may harden over time. However, there are certain steps older adults can take to maintain their kidney function as they age.
Dedication to diet
Eating the right foods can have a significant impact on healthy senior living, and that's especially true when it comes to kidney function. For instance, certain fruits are particularly helpful, including grapes, cranberries and blueberries. Vegetables such as spinach, string beans, celery and asparagus are helpful as well. Of course, eating well is not the only way for seniors to maintain their kidney function, according to the Polycystic Kidney Disease Research Foundation. Controlling blood pressure through exercise is important as well, as is maintaining healthy blood sugar levels by eating smaller, healthier meals more frequently throughout the day.