Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is when the kidneys do not filter blood the right way. It happens over a long period of time. This causes waste to build up in the body and leads to other health problems.
Anatomy of the Kidney
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CKD is caused by damage or disease in the kidneys. Common causes include:
- High blood pressure
- Problems with the kidneys, such as:
- Severe infection
- Problems with the immune system
CFD is more common in older adults. Smoking and alcohol use disorder are the main risk factors. Other things that may raise the risk are:
CKD may cause problems such as:
- Feeling tired or weak
- Trouble sleeping
- Not wanting to eat
- Feeling that it is hard to breathe
- Change in how food tastes
- Feeling confused, restless, or sad
The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam may be done. Blood and urine tests will be done to see how well the kidneys are working.
Other tests will be done to find a cause. You may need to see a doctor who treats kidney diseases.
There is no cure. The goal of treatment is to prevent or slow damage and manage problems. Options are:
The doctor may advise stopping or changing any medicines that hurt the kidneys.
Medicines may be given to:
- Control health problems that hurt the kidneys, such as high blood pressure and diabetes
- Manage problems caused by CKD, such as swelling, nausea, or feeling tired.
The doctor may advise:
- Not smoking
- Dietary changes
- Regular exercise
People with severe CKD may need:
—a machine that cleans the blood
- A kidney transplant
To lower the risk of CKD:
- Manage health problems that can cause kidney damage, such as high blood pressure and diabetes
- Maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise
- Do not smoke
- Limit alcohol
Chronic kidney disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd. Accessed December 28, 2020.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/overview-of-chronic-kidney-disease-ckd-in-adults. Accessed December 28, 2020.
Gaitonde DY, Cook DL, Rivera IM. Chronic kidney disease: detection and evaluation. Am Fam Physician. 2017;96(12):776-783.
Last reviewed September 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 12/28/2020