Harvard Men's Health Watch

Weak kidneys? Pay attention but don't worry excessively

Many older men have low-normal kidney function, but it doesn't need to become a serious health threat.

Chronic kidney disease means the kidneys—the body's blood-filtering urine factory—have less capacity to filter toxins from the blood and excrete them in the urine. Half of U.S. adults over 75 may have below-normal kidney function, but most of them will never get sick from it. In men whose kidney function is falling, certain steps can help to slow or prevent further losses.

"Kidney function appears to decline with age in some people, but it does not necessarily cause a problem unless you have other health conditions," says Dr. Melanie Hoenig, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard-affiliated Joslin Diabetes Center.

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