Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also called chronic renal disease, refers to conditions that cause the gradual loss of kidney function over time. CKD damages the kidneys and reduces their ability to filter waste and excess fluid from the body, among other critical functions.
Kidney disease is considered chronic when the kidneys are damaged or dysfunctional for more than three months. Kidney disease progresses in stages and the most serious stage is called end-stage renal disease (ESRD), which can lead to kidney failure, the need for dialysis, and possibly a kidney transplant.
Early, Expert Care Required for CKD
Early diagnosis and proper treatment can help prevent chronic kidney disease from progressing to end-stage renal disease or kidney failure. Controlling pre-existing or co-existing conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can also help reduce or stop the progression of CKD. Complications of chronic kidney disease include anemia, nerve damage, heart disease and kidney failure.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Causes
Chronic kidney disease can be caused by several common conditions. Some people with CKD may not feel sick, especially in the early stages of the disease. However, everyone experiences symptoms differently. Managing these and other health conditions can help prevent some complications of CKD.
- Polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a genetic disease which causes cysts to form in both kidneys
- High blood pressure (hypertension), which can be both a cause and a symptom of CKD
- Diabetes, the cause of nearly half of all cases of kidney failure
- Glomerulonephritis, a type of inflammation that causes eventual damage of the filtering parts of the kidney
- Blocked urinary tract that may be due to kidney stones, kidney tumors or an enlarged prostate
- Urinary complications of surgery
- Congenital conditions that can inhibit urine flow or otherwise cause infection and kidney damage
- Lupus and other chronic diseases that affect the body’s immune system
- Reflux nephropathy, which is a reverse flow of urine from the bladder to the kidneys
- Other inherited conditions
- Long-term intake of certain medicines that can permanently damage the kidneys