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Published on: August 17, 2018
Older kidney failure patients on hemodialysis have high rates of dementia, which is associated with an increased risk of early death, a new study shows.
Researchers analyzed data from nearly 357,000 dialysis patients aged 66 and older and found their risk of being diagnosed with dementia one and five years after starting dialysis was 4.6 percent and 16 percent among women, and 3.7 percent and 13 percent among men.
Their respective risks of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease were 0.6 percent and 2.6 percent among women, and 0.4 percent and 2 percent among men.
Previous research suggests that the 10-year incidence of dementia is 1.0 to 1.5 percent in adults aged 65 and 7.4 to 7.6 percent in adults aged 75.
The study authors estimated that the risk of dementia diagnosis within 10 years of starting dialysis is 19 percent for patients aged 66 to 70, and 28 percent for those aged 76 to 80.
Dialysis patients at highest risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease were found to be over the age of 86, black, female and in a nursing home or other institution.
The researchers also found that dialysis patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease had a twofold higher risk of dying early.
Dialysis is the process of using a machine to purify the blood of people whose kidneys are no longer working properly.
The study was published Aug. 9 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
“We wanted to shed light on the high burden of diagnosed dementia in older patients with kidney failure who initiate hemodialysis,” Dr. Mara McAdams-DeMarco, from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in a journal news release.
“While we were able to study diagnosed dementia, there is a great need to also identify patients with mild cognitive impairment as well as undiagnosed dementia,” she added.
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