Nephrosclerosis can be defined by the presence of glomerulosclerosis, tubular atrophy, interstitial fibrosis, and arteriosclerosis on renal biopsy. Chronic kidney disease is identified clinically by a reduction in glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and has been characterized histologically by nephrosclerosis. Many relatively healthy older adults have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease because of a decline in GFR with normal aging. Recent data show that in healthy adults (living kidney donors), nephrosclerosis on renal biopsy does not associate with GFR independent of age. This may be explained by the decline in GFR and nephrosclerosis being universal with aging (i.e. senescence), by structural changes in the kidney other than nephrosclerosis impacting GFR, or by extrarenal factors affecting GFR decline with age. However, the argument that the age-related decline in GFR can be fully explained by the development of nephrosclerosis in a subset of older adults is not supported by existing data.
- Glomerular filtration rate
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