Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time. To read more about kidney function, see How Your Kidneys Work. CKD is also known as chronic renal disease.
Chronic kidney disease includes situations that damage your kidneys and decrease their capability to keep you healthy by doing the jobs listed. If kidney disease gets worse, wastes can build to high levels in your blood and make you feel sick. You may develop complications like high blood pressure, anemia (low blood count), weak bones, poor nutritional health, and nerve damage. Also, kidney disease increases your risk of having heart and blood vessel disease. These problems may happen slowly over a long period of time. Chronic kidney disease may be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure, and other disorders. Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse. When kidney disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.
- Early detection can help prevent the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure.
- Heart disease is the major cause of death for all people with CKD.
- Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is the best estimate of kidney function.
- Hypertension causes CKD and CKD reason hypertension.
- Persistent proteinuria (protein in the urine) means CKD is present.
- High-risk groups include those with diabetes, hypertension and family history of kidney failure.
What causes CKD?
The two main reasons for chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure, which are responsible for up to two-thirds of the cases. Diabetes occurs when your blood sugar is too high, causing damage to many organs in your body, including the kidneys and heart, as well as blood vessels, nerves, and eyes. High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when the pressure of your blood against the walls of your blood vessels increases.
- Inherited diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease, which causes large cysts to form in the kidneys and damage the surrounding tissue.
- Malformations that occur as a baby develops in its mother’s womb. For example, a narrowing may happen that prevents the normal outflow of urine and causes urine to flow back up to the kidney. This reason infections and may damage the kidneys.
- Lupus and other diseases that affect the body’s immune system.