The role that sex plays in the development and progression of chronic kidney disease remains a subject of controversy. The lack of clarity in this important area reflects complex interactions between biological factors and cultural and socioeconomic influences that impact the relationship between sex and renal disease. Certainly, additional observational studies are indicated; however, innovative approaches are required to isolate biological processes from cultural influences. Despite these limitations, available data suggest that the progression of renal disease is slower in women than in men and that this sexual dimorphism is primarily due to direct actions of sex hormones on cellular metabolism. The extent to which differences in lifestyle factors between the sexes influence sexual dimorphism in the progression of chronic kidney disease remains to be elucidated.
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