Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is an indicator of kidney function and is often assessed to confirm the presence of kidney disease. GFR is typically lower in older adults, but if healthy aging is associated with lower or preserved GFR levels is not clear. The objective of this study is to examine the association between GFR and healthy aging in older adults.

This is a cross-sectional meta-analysis study that included adults aged 50-97 years from three large European population-based cohorts. The association between GFR, age, and health were derived. The researchers characterized a healthy person as having no major chronic disease or risk factors for CKD; all others were considered unhealthy. The primary objective of this study was to determine GFR in healthy aging.

Of the three cohorts, the GFR measurements of 935 healthy persons (22%) and 3,274 unhealthy persons were available. The findings suggested that the mean GFR was lower in older men by age who were healthy (−0.72 ml/min) compared with −1.03 ml/min in men who were unhealthy. For women, the GFR for healthy and unhealthy adults was −0.92 and −1.22 ml/min, respectively. For both sexes, GFR demonstrated an inverse linear association with age.

The research concluded that healthy aging was associated with a higher mean GFR compared with unhealthy aging.