Kidney failure takes an especially tough toll on young adults, affecting their employment and relationships, researchers report.
Young people with kidney failure are less likely to have jobs or be in long-term relationships than others their age, according to a new British research review.
“It is vital to understand how kidney failure affects social goals, because by defining these we can seek interventions to improve areas of deficit,” said Dr. Alexander Hamilton, of the University of Bristol in England.
His team analyzed 60 published studies that included nearly 16,000 kidney failure patients aged 16 to 30. They were either on dialysis or had received a kidney transplant.
Compared to their healthy peers, these young people had a worse quality of life and were more likely to be unemployed and to live in their parents’ home, the study found. They also were less likely to be married or have a romantic partner.
These social, employment and lifestyle issues were worse among those on dialysis than among those who’d had a kidney transplant, the researchers said.
There were no differences between kidney failure patients and their healthy peers in terms of education levels or rates of smoking and drinking.
The study was published in the Oct. 19 issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
“We know that most young people with end-stage kidney disease have a kidney transplant, but they are high-risk for the transplanted kidney to fail,” Hamilton said in a journal news release.
While much attention has been paid to the transition between pediatric and adult care for kidney patients, he said it’s also essential to look at the social ramifications among this younger adult age group.
“These areas really matter to patients,” Hamilton said.
The American Kidney Fund has more on kidney failure.