Research Highlight

Education, gender determine quality of life for kidney patients

doi:10.1038/nindia.2020.19 Published online 4 February 2020

By studying the quality of life in young Indians with mild-to-moderate chronic kidney disease (CKD), an international research team has found that even early stages of the ailment can negatively affect an individual's quality of life1.

A lower quality of life of kidney patients, the researchers found, was associated with lower income, poor education and being female.

Understanding the nature of such associations will pave the development of tailored interventions to improve their quality of life, they say.

The team, including scientists from the George Institute for Global Health in New Delhi and Samarpan Kidney Institute and Research Centre in Bhopal, India, examined data from the Indian Chronic Kidney Disease Study conducted nationwide at eight centres.

The researchers, led by Vivekanand Jha, found that a high body mass index (BMI) — a measure of body fat based on height and weight — was associated with a better quality of life for the kidney patients. Higher BMI was equated to better nutrition and income and low education linked to poor quality of life. A lack of education can affect a patient’s ability to seek and follow medical advice, adopt healthy behaviours and lifestyle, and even their disease-coping skills, the researchers found.

Also, women and men react to the disease in many different ways, they report. Women suffer more from depression and anxiety than men. Women use more emotional and social-support-seeking strategies to cope with their disease.

Women, particularly rural, are often illiterate and lack employment. They have limited autonomy and less decision-making power, and these can potentially affect their quality of life, especially when dealing with a chronic illness such as CKD, the researchers say.


1. Modi, G.K. et al. Non-medical factors and health-related quality of life in CKD in India. Clin. J. Am. Soc. Nephrol. (2020) doi: 10.2215/CJN.06510619