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Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease includes conditions that damage the kidneys and decrease their ability to keep you healthy by doing the jobs listed. If kidney disease gets worse, waste 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. If chronic kidney disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.

The two main causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure, which are responsible for up to two-thirds of the cases.

What are the symptoms of kidney disease?

Most people may not have any severe symptoms until their kidney disease is advanced. However, you may notice that you:

  • Feel more tired and have less energy
  • Have trouble concentrating
  • Have a poor appetite
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Have cramping at night
  • Have swollen feet and ankles
  • Have puffiness around your eyes, especially in the morning
  • Have dry itchy skin
  • Need to urinate more often especially at night

You may have an increased risk for kidney disease if you:

  • Have diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have a family history of chronic kidney disease
  • Are older
  • Belong to a population group that has a high rate of diabetes or high blood pressure, such as African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian or Pacific Islanders and American-Indians

Other conditions that affect the kidneys are:

  • Glomerulonephritis, a group of diseases that cause inflammation and damage to the kidney’s filtering units. These disorders are the third most common type of kidney disease
  • 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 occur that prevents normal outflow of urine and causes urine to flow back up to the kidney. This causes infections and may damage the kidneys
  • Lupus and other diseases that affect the body’s immune system.
  • Obstructions caused by problems like kidney stones, tumors, or an enlarged prostate gland in men
  • Repeated urinary infections