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About Chronic Kidney Disease

UPMC Content 3


Early and comprehensive treatment of kidney disease helps prevent complications and can delay progression. In general, chronic kidney disease (CKD) shows no symptoms. By the time symptoms appear, the damage is typically irreversible. The best strategy against the silent danger of CKD is prevention by identifying individual risks and correcting or managing modifiable risk factors. Screening for kidney disease at regular intervals provides early warning if kidney function begins to decline.

Health Factors

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Family history of kidney disease

Other Risk Factors

  • Lupus or other autoimmune disease
  • Infection
  • Urinary tract stones or other causes of obstruction
  • Recent history of acute kidney failure
  • Exposure to certain drugs, chemicals, or other environmental conditions
  • Advanced age

Demographic Factors

  • Ethnic minority status – non-Caucasian ethnicity, especially African American, Native American, Hispanic or Pacific Islander

Who Is At Risk?

More than 26 million Americans have kidney disease, and millions more are at risk. The leading risk factor for chronic kidney disease is diabetes, followed by high blood pressure. Together both disorders account for three-quarters of patients who develop end-stage kidney disease requiring dialysis or transplantation. However, a number of different conditions may lead to chronic kidney disease.​