Men & Women Experience Kidney Disease Differently: Let’s Break The Cycle

Did you know that kidney disease doesn’t follow a one-size-fits-all story? It turns out men and women ride very different waves on their kidney health journey. From who gets diagnosed earlier to who faces tougher battles getting the right treatment, there’s a whole world of differences between the genders.

Men might see early signs through something called albuminuria, which is a fancy term for having protein in your pee, signalling early kidney issues. Women, on the other hand, often find out about their kidney disease later down the road but have a knack for outliving men after a kidney transplant.

What Is Kidney Disease?

Kidney disease is when the kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood as well as they should. This damage can cause wastes to build up in the body, leading to various health problems.

The kidneys are vital organs that play crucial roles in filtering waste products from the blood, regulating blood pressure, balancing electrolytes, and producing red blood cells. Kidney disease can progress over time and lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD), which can eventually result in kidney failure, requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant for survival.

Why Do Men & Women Experience Kidney Disease Differently?

Men and women experience kidney disease differently, partly because of their body’s makeup and lifestyle choices (Chesnaye et al., 2024). For example, certain hormones in women can slow kidney damage, while different hormones might speed it up in men (Chesnaye et al., 2024).

Men often get kidney disease earlier, and it can get worse faster, partly because they might have more habits like smoking that can hurt the kidneys (Chesnaye et al., 2024). Women might not always get diagnosed quickly or find it harder to get the treatment they need. For example many women struggle getting on the list for a kidney transplant (Chesnaye et al., 2024). Additionally, Epicentre’s nurse pointed out (thank you, Angelica) that many women’s symptoms of kidney disease are often dismissed as menstrual-related issues.

Despite these challenges, women who receive a kidney transplant tend to live longer than men who get one. These differences show why doctors need to think carefully about treating men and women with kidney disease, ensuring everyone gets the best care possible.

When To Get Lab Testing

1. Annual Check-ups: Get your kidneys checked during regular health visits, even if you feel fine. It helps catch any problems early.

2. Monitoring Chronic Conditions: If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart problems, you need to watch your kidneys closely because these conditions can affect them.

3. Family History of Diseases: If your family has a history of kidney problems, it’s a good idea to get tested from time to time.

4. Presence of Symptoms: Pay attention to changes like more trips to the bathroom, swelling in your legs or around your eyes, trouble peeing, or feeling tired. These can all be clues that your kidneys need a check-up.

5. New Treatments: Some drugs, especially painkillers taken regularly, can harm your kidneys.

6. Age-specific Screenings: Kidneys can get weaker with age. If you’re getting up there in years, it’s wise to watch them.

How To Get The Right Lab Tests?

It’s easy, simple and private.

1. Simply make a booking or come to our Walk-In Lab and ask for our Kidney package. Our trained nurse will guide you through the process and advise you on which package to choose based on your symptoms and family history.

2. Our receptionist will help you claim the tests from your medical aid or book you in as a private patient.

3. Our nurse will gently take a small amount of blood, and you may be asked to give us a small sample of your urine.

4. We will then send your samples off for lab testing and email your results the moment they come in.

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