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An Estimated 26 Million Adults in the United States have Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Most people with CKD don't know they have it 2; reduce the risk of kidney disease by preventing – when possible – diabetes and high blood pressure and managing those conditions when present.

Chart: People who reported having Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) by Stage

Among the key findings in the CDC Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Surveillance Report:

  • In 1999–2006, among (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) NHANES survey participants, <5% of those with kidney disease stages 1 or 2 (mild disease) reported being aware of having CKD; of those with CKD stage 3 (moderate disease), awareness was only about 7.5%; for stage 4 (severe disease), awareness was still only less than half (about 40%).
  • Among those with CKD stage 3 or 4, younger (15%) and male (13%) participants and those who were non-Hispanic black (21%) had the greatest levels of awareness relative to their counterparts.
  • Awareness rates for CKD stage 3 or 4 were higher in those with comorbid diagnoses of diabetes and hypertension, but still quite low (20% and 12%, respectively).
  • Persons with CKD in the community are unlikely to be aware of their disease and seek appropriate treatment.

March 12 is World Kidney Day – PROTECT YOUR KIDNEYS

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the loss of kidney function.3 It is a silent condition, resulting from physical injury or a disease that damages the kidneys, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. In fact, the most common causes of kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure.

In the early stages of CKD, people do not notice any symptoms. The disease often develops so slowly that many people don't realize they're sick until the disease is advanced. In 2006, CKD was responsible for the death of nearly 45,000 people, ranking as the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. 4

However, the risk for kidney disease can be reduced by preventing – when possible – diabetes and high blood pressure and managing these conditions when present.

CDC Addresses Kidney Disease

CDC has initiated the Chronic Kidney Disease Initiative, designed to provide public health strategies for promoting kidney health. To accomplish this goal, CDC has housed the Initiative within CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation and has taken a collaborative approach among entities within and outside the organization.

The Initiative has three primary objectives:

  • Develop capacity and infrastructure at CDC in the areas of kidney disease surveillance, epidemiology, health outcomes research, and health economics.
  • Award grants to support several state-based demonstration projects for CKD detection, prevention, and control.
  • Convene a consensus conference of kidney disease experts and other stakeholders to establish priorities and strategies in the public health approach to kidney disease prevention and control.

For more information, visit the Chronic Kidney Disease Initiative.


1Coresh J, Selvin E, Stevens LA, et al: Prevalence of chronic kidney disease in the United States. JAMA. 2007:298:2038–2047.

2Plantinga LC, Boulware LE, Coresh J, et al. Patient awareness of chronic kidney disease: trends and predictors. Arch Intern Med. 2008;168(20):2268–2275.

3Chronic Kidney Disease: A Family Affair. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health. 2005. Available from:

4Heron MP, Hoyert DL, Xu J, Scott C, Tejada-Vera B. Deaths: Preliminary data for 2006. National vital statistics reports. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2008;56(16):4–5.

More Information

  • Page last reviewed: March 3, 2009
  • Page last updated: March 3, 2009
  • Content source:
    • Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
    • Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs