Worldwide, the rates of kidney failure are rapidly increasing, affecting more than two million people. About one in 40 middle-aged men and one in 60 middle-aged women will be diagnosed with kidney failure if they live to be 90.

One's kidneys are responsible for removing waste products and assist in balancing water, salt and other minerals in the body. Once an individual's kidney has stopped working waste products will start to build up in the body. Unless one receives a kidney transplant, those suffering with kidney failure will begin dialysis, which is where a device filters your blood to rid the body of harmful toxins.

As a means to determine an individual's risk of developing kidney failure, experts Tanvir Chowdhury Turin, MD, PhD, Brenda Hemmelgarn, MD, PhD of University of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada, and their colleagues analyzed 2,895,521 adults in Alberta, Canada.

Turin, Hemmelgarn and their colleagues monitored each individual between 1997 and 2008. Prior to the study each participant was free of kidney failure.

"Given the high morbidity and cost associated with kidney failure, we wanted to quantify the burden of disease for kidney failure in an easily understandable index to communicate information for patients, health practitioners, and policy makers," Dr. Turin said.

The study revealed, about one in 40 middle-aged men and one in 60 middle-aged women will be diagnosed with kidney failure if they live into their 90s. This means there is a 2.66 percent risk of kidney failure for men and a 1.76 percent risk for women. The risk is even higher in individuals who have a reduced kidney function, for men 7.51 percent and women 3.21 percent, compared to people who have a well-preserved kidney function, men 1.01 percent and women 0.63 percent.

The overall lifetime risk of kidney failure is consistently higher for men of all ages and kidney function levels, compared to women.

The study was published in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.