Kidney Function, Kidney Function Decline, and the Risk of Dementia in Older Adults: A Registry-Based Study

Objective

Community-based reports regarding the association between the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and dementia risk show conflicting results. The aim of this study is to investigate the links among kidney function, kidney function decline, and dementia incidence.

Methods

We analyzed the association of eGFR with the risk of dementia (defined as a new dementia diagnosis or initiation of dementia treatments) among 329,822 residents of Stockholm who accessed health care during 2006 to 2011, were ≥65 years of age, had no history of dementia, or underwent kidney replacement therapy. We also estimated the rate of eGFR decline among 205,622 residents with repeated eGFR measurements during the first year of observation and investigated its association with subsequent dementia risk.

Results

We detected 18,983 cases of dementia (5.8% of participants) over a median follow-up of 5 years. Dementia incidence rates were progressively higher with lower eGFR: from 6.56/1,000 person-years in those with eGFR of 90 to 104 mL/min to 30.28/1,000 person-years in those with eGFR <30 mL/min. After multivariable adjustment, lower eGFR was associated with a higher dementia risk (hazard ratio [HR] 1.71, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.54–1.91 in eGFR 30–59 mL/min; HR 2.62, 95% CI 1.91–3.58 in eGFR 2 mL/min/1.73 m2/y) within 1 year was associated with higher dementia risk. Risk magnitudes were stronger for vascular dementia than for Alzheimer dementia. As many as 10% (95% CI 6%–14%) of dementia cases could be attributed to eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m2, a proportion higher than that attributed to other dementia risk factors such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Conclusions

Both lower kidney function and steeper kidney function decline are associated with the development of dementia.

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