Kidney disease and hypertension are very common in elderly persons. We have described the importance of kidney disease as a risk factor for functional decline and frailty in elderly persons. Moreover, our work has highlighted the importance of considering functional status in elderly persons. We have shown that the risks associated with high blood pressure may differ in persons who have impaired functional status, compared with healthy elders.

Not only does kidney disease appear to shorten life-expectancy, but it also contributes to several other morbid aging syndromes. Our group has linked kidney disease in elders to higher risks of dementia, physical impairment, osteoporosis and fractures, and hospital infections. When we prevent or delay the onset of kidney disease in an elderly person, we will not only help them live longer, but also more healthily and successfully.


The Aging Kidney: Chronic Injury, Impaired Functions and Clinical Outcomes

Principal Investigator: Michael G. Shlipak and Mark J. Sarnak

Funding Source: National Institute of Aging (5R01AG027002)

Project Summary: Chronic kidney disease, particularly prevalent in the elderly, is a growing public health problem with enormous impact on morbidity, mortality and resource utilization. In this proposal we evaluate novel urinary biomarkers and their relationship to aging, decline in kidney function and clinical outcomes. We plan to develop: a novel paradigm to define the kidney’s aging process; a potential method for the early detection of chronic injury to the kidney; and ultimately novel targets for therapies to reduce the burden of chronic kidney disease in the elderly.

A New Paradigm for Hypertension in the Elderly- Beyond Age

Principal Investigator: Carmen Peralta and Michelle Odden

Funding Source: National Institute of Aging

Project Summary: We are proposing a novel paradigm where the associations of blood pressure with adverse outcomes in older persons are considered in the setting of the complex aging process. Our long-term goal is to reliably identify elderly persons in whom blood pressure treatment is beneficial and those in whom treatment is ineffective or even harmful, by defining subpopulations of similar health status.