As for the whole human body, the kidney undergoes age-related changes which translate in an inexorable and progressive decline in renal function. Renal aging is a multifactorial process where gender, race and genetic background and several key-mediators such as chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone (RAAS) system, impairment in kidney repair capacities and background cardiovascular disease play a significant role. Features of the aging kidney include macroscopic and microscopic changes and important functional adaptations, none of which is pathognomonic of aging. The assessment of renal function in the framework of aging is problematic and the question whether renal aging should be considered as a physiological or pathological process remains a much debated issue. Although promising dietary and pharmacological approaches have been tested to retard aging processes or renal function decline in the elderly, proper lifestyle modifications, as those applicable to the general population, currently represent the most plausible approach to maintain kidney health.
Keywords: Aging processes; Chronic kidney disease; Renal aging; Renal function decline; Renal senescence.
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