Maintenance of independent living is the top health priority among patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD). Mobility limitation is often the first sign of functional limitation leading to loss of independence. Regular assessments of physical capacity can help provide kidney health providers identify patients at risk of frailty and other adverse health-related outcomes that contribute to the loss of functional independence. These physical capacities can be measured with commonly used self-reported measures of physical function or by objective physical performance testing. The current review describes commonly used assessments of self-reported physical function and physical performance. First, we describe the disablement process and how these assessments can be performed with commonly used quality of life instruments measuring self-reported physical function or objective physical performance tests. Second, we identify the determinants and correlates of self-reported physical function and physical performance and their contribution to the frailty phenotype. Third, we describe the association of physical capacities with clinical outcomes. We conclude with on possible approach to identifying and intervening on persons with CKD at high risk of functional decline.
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