Impaired Kidney Function and Associated Factors Among Rural Adults With Disabilities in Taiwan

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The results of numerous studies indicate that people with disabilities seek more healthcare than those who are not disabled, particularly for conditions such as chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. However, little is known about the incidence of impaired kidney function and its associated factors among adults with disabilities in Taiwan.


The aim of this study was to explore the prevalence and factors associated with impaired kidney function among adults with disabilities.


This descriptive study was nurse led and was conducted as part of a health promotion program for disadvantaged rural adults with disabilities in Chiayi County, Taiwan. Health screening and a health needs survey were conducted between July and December 2013. Kidney function, physiological biomarkers, health-related behaviors, and demographic characteristics were examined.


Eight hundred ten rural adults with disabilities were enrolled. The most common disabilities included physical-related disability (33.1%), intellectual-related disability (26.7%), and hearing and vision impairment (18.6%). The prevalence of impaired kidney function in this population was 85%. According to classification for chronic kidney disease, 68.6% were in Stages 1–2, and 16.8% were in Stages 3–4. Univariate analysis showed that impaired kidney function was significantly associated with lower educational level (p < .001), hearing or vision impairment (p < .001), being overweight or obese (p < .05), high systolic blood pressure (p < .01), fasting blood glucose (p < .001), total cholesterol (p < .001), total triglyceride (p < .05), older age (p < .001), smoking (p < .05), chewing betel nuts (p = .001), and low levels of participation in social activities (p < .05). The final logistic regression model showed that residents with disabilities who were older or had less education, high fasting blood glucose, and high total cholesterol tended to have impaired kidney function after adjustment for other potential confounding variables.

Conclusions/Implications for Practice:

Most participants showed impaired kidney function. The factors that were found to relate significantly to this impairment include being overweight, having hyperlipidemia, having hypertension, having high fasting blood glucose, and having an unhealthy lifestyle. Because of the lack of symptoms during the early stages of chronic kidney disease, a community-based health promotion program for these factors is an important element in health advocacy for this vulnerable population.

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