Obesity has become a worldwide epidemic, and its prevalence has been projected to grow by 40% in the next decade. This increasing prevalence has implications for the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and also for chronic kidney disease (CKD). A high body mass index is one of the strongest risk factors for new-onset CKD. In individuals affected by obesity, a compensatory hyperfiltration occurs to meet the heightened metabolic demands of the increased body weight. The increase in intraglomerular pressure can damage the kidneys and raise the risk of developing CKD in the long-term. The incidence of obesity-related glomerulopathy has increased tenfold in recent years. Obesity has also been shown to be a risk factor for nephrolithiasis, and for a number of malignancies including kidney cancer. This year the World Kidney Day promotes education on the harmful consequences of obesity and its association with kidney disease, advocating healthy lifestyle, and health policy measures that makes preventive behaviors an affordable option.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects approximately 10% of the world’s adult population; it is within the top 20 causes of death worldwide, and its impact on patients and their families can be devastating. World Kidney Day and International Women’s Day in 2018 coincide, thus offering an opportunity to reflect on the importance of women’s health and specifically their kidney health, on the community, and the next generations, as well as to strive to be more curious about the unique aspects of kidney disease in women so that we may apply those learnings more broadly. Girls and women, who make up approximately 50% of the world’s population, are important contributors to society and their families. Gender differences continue to exist around the world in access to education, medical care, and participation in clinical studies. Pregnancy is a unique state for women, which not only offers an opportunity for diagnosis of kidney disease, but also states where acute and chronic kidney diseases may manifest, and which may impact future generations with respect to kidney health. There are various autoimmune and other conditions that are more likely to impact women with profound consequences for childbearing, and on the fetus. Women have different complications on dialysis than men and are more likely to be donors than recipients of kidney transplants. In this editorial, we focus on what we do and do not know about women, kidney health, and kidney disease and what we might learn in the future to improve outcomes worldwide.