Chronic Kidney Disease

[kron-ik] [kid-nee] [dih-zeez]

3D Image of body featuring kidneys

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition in which your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter wastes from your blood as well as healthy kidneys (kidney disease is chronic if it lasts for 3 months or longer). Because of this, wastes from the blood remain in the body and may cause other health problems. People in the early stages of CKD may not feel ill or notice any symptoms. The only way to find out for sure whether you have CKD is through specific blood and urine tests. Once detected, CKD can be treated with medicines and lifestyle changes, including making healthy choices about what you eat and drink. These treatments can slow the worsening of CKD and can help prevent additional health problems.

Quiz

Key Facts

  • Adults with diabetes, high blood pressure, or both have a higher risk of developing CKD than those without these conditions.
  • Other risk factors for CKD include heart disease, obesity, lupus, and a family history of CKD or kidney failure.
  • Risk of developing CKD increases with age.
  • If kidney damage is severe and kidney function is very low, this is called kidney failure.
  • Not all patients with CKD progress to kidney failure. In some patients, CKD progresses to kidney failure even with proper treatment.
  • Among people with CKD, men are 63% more likely than women to develop kidney failure.
  • People with kidney failure need either regular dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive.

Media

Family running through park
Family History Counts

A family history of CKD increases your risk. If someone in your family has CKD, talk to your doctor about getting tested. Early treatment is most effective and can help prevent additional health problems.

Two senior couples eating dinner
Eat Right for Health

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Choose fresh, frozen, or dried fruit most of the time. For frozen foods, try lower sodium versions. Eat plenty of veggies like broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash, and green, leafy vegetables. Also include black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, split peas, and lentils.

Two women power walking
Stay Active

Preventing type 2 diabetes helps prevent CKD. Studies have shown that losing a modest amount of weight (5% to 7% of body weight) if you’re overweight and getting regular physical activity (at least 150 minutes a week of brisk walking or similar activity) lowers the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Man having blood pressure checked
Check Blood Pressure

Adults with diabetes, high blood pressure, or both have a higher risk of developing CKD than those without these conditions. Roughly 1 in 3 adults with diabetes and 1 in 5 adults with high blood pressure are estimated to have CKD. Having kidney disease increases your chances of also having heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke.

Nurse consulting with senior man about medication
Take Your Medicine

If you have diabetes or high blood pressure and are diagnosed with CKD, it is very important to manage your blood sugar and blood pressure (ask your doctor what your target ranges should be) to prevent or delay kidney failure.

Prevention Tips

The best way to prevent or delay CKD is to prevent, treat, and manage its risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure:

  • Monitor your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels to keep your kidneys healthy.
  • Manage your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol by:
    • Eating more fruits and vegetables.
    • Staying physically active.
    • Taking your medications as directed.
    • Getting regular checkups.
  • If you have diabetes, have an A1C test at least twice a year. An A1C test measures the average level of blood sugar over the past 3 months.
  • Talk to your doctor about medicines and other ways to manage your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

More Information

Page last reviewed: February 22, 2021