Chronic kidney disease, or CKD, is common among US adults. In fact, more than 1 in 7, or 15%, of US adults are estimated to have CKD, which is about 37 million people. In the United States, as many as 9 in 10 adults with CKD do not know they have it, while about 2 in 5 adults with severe CKD do not know they have it.
To gain a better understanding of what chronic kidney disease looks like, as well as prevention and treatment, read our latest blog below.
Chronic kidney disease, also called chronic kidney failure, describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Under normal conditions, your kidneys are responsible for filtering wastes and excess fluids from your blood, which is then excreted in your urine. However, in those with chronic kidney disease, your kidneys are no longer able to filter the blood the way they should. In advanced stages of CKD, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes can build up in your body.
There are five stages of CKD and different symptoms and treatments associated with each stage.
Stage 5 kidney disease: In stage 5 kidney disease, your kidneys are working at a capacity lower than 15%, or you have kidney failure. When that happens, the buildup of waste and toxins becomes life-threatening. This is end-stage renal disease. Symptoms at this stage include: back and chest pain, breathing problems, decreased mental sharpness, fatigue, little to no appetite, muscle twitches or cramps, nausea or vomiting, persistent itching, trouble sleeping, severe weakness, swelling of the hands and feet, and urinating more or less than usual. At this stage, the risk of heart disease and stroke is also growing.
Some types of kidney disease can be treated, depending on the underlying cause. However, most often chronic kidney disease has no cure.
Treatment usually involves controlling signs and symptoms, reducing complications, and slowing the progression of the disease. If your kidneys become severely damaged, you may need treatment for end-stage kidney disease.
CKD occurs when a disease or condition impairs kidney function, causing kidney damage to worsen over several months or years.
Diseases and conditions that cause chronic kidney disease include:
Recurrent kidney infection, also called pyelonephritis
There are a number of ways to reduce your risk of developing kidney disease:
Manage medical conditions with your provider’s help. If you have diseases or conditions that increase your risk of kidney disease, work with your doctor to control them. Ask your doctor about tests to look for signs of kidney damage