Chronic kidney disease and functional limitation in older people: health, aging and body composition study

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2006 May;54(5):750-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2006.00727.x.


Objectives: To assess whether chronic kidney disease (CKD) is independently associated with incident physical-function limitation.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: Two sites: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Memphis, Tennessee.

Participants: Two thousand one hundred thirty-five men and women aged 70 to 79 without functional limitation at baseline from the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study.

Measurements: Functional limitation was defined as difficulty in walking one-quarter of a mile or climbing 10 steps on two consecutive reports 6 months apart (in the same function). Kidney function was measured using serum cystatin C. Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease formula (<60 versus > or =60 mL/min per 1.73 m(2)), was a secondary predictor. Muscle strength, lean body mass according to dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, comorbidity, medication use, and inflammatory markers were evaluated as covariates.

Results: Persons in the highest (> or =1.13 mg/L) quartile of cystatin C experienced a significantly higher risk of developing functional limitation than those in the lowest (<0.86 mg/L) quartile (hazard ratio (HR)=1.70, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.40-2.07). The association between the fourth cystatin C quartile and functional limitation remained after adjustment for demographics, lean body mass, comorbidity, muscle strength, and gait speed (HR=1.41, 95% CI=1.13-1.75), although the association was attenuated after adjustment for markers of inflammation (HR=1.15, 95% CI=0.90-1.46). Similar results were found for eGFR less than 60 mL/min per 1.73 m(2), although the association with functional limitation remained after adjustment for inflammatory markers (HR=1.30, 95% CI=1.08-1.56).

Conclusion: CKD is associated with the development of functional impairment independent of comorbidity, body composition, and tests of strength and physical performance. The mechanism may be related to a heightened inflammatory state in CKD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Body Composition*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cystatin C
  • Cystatins / blood
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / blood
  • Kidney Diseases / complications
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Male
  • Mobility Limitation*
  • Walking / physiology*


  • CST3 protein, human
  • Cystatin C
  • Cystatins