Kidney Disease

Your kidneys filter extra water and wastes out of your blood and make urine. Your kidneys also help control blood pressure so that your body can stay healthy. Read more about what your kidneys do. Kidney disease means that the kidneys are damaged and can't filter blood like they should. This damage can cause wastes to build up in the body. It can also cause other problems that can harm your health.

For most people, kidney damage occurs slowly over many years, often due to diabetes or high blood pressure. This is called chronic kidney disease. When someone has a sudden change in kidney function—because of illness, or injury, or have taken certain medications—this is called acute kidney injury. This can occur in a person with normal kidneys or in someone who already has kidney problems.

Kidney disease is a growing problem. More than 20 million Americans may have kidney disease and many more are at risk. Anyone can develop kidney disease, regardless of age or race. The main risk factors for developing kidney disease are:

  • Diabetes,
  • High blood pressure,
  • Cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) disease, and
  • A family history of kidney failure.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of kidney disease.

​These conditions can slowly damage the kidneys over many years.

Provided by the Diabetes Health Channel on eMedTV.com

Early kidney disease has no signs or symptoms.

You may not feel any different until your kidney disease is very advanced. Blood and urine tests are the only way to know if you have kidney disease. A​ blood test checks your glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which tells how well your kidneys are filtering. A urine test checks for protein in your urine. Read more about testing for kidney disease.

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