What Is Chronic
Kidney Disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition that occurs when your kidneys don’t work as well as they should to filter waste, toxins, and excess fluids from your body. The word "chronic" means that the condition is ongoing and will require long-term medical care to look after your health. Kidney disease progresses in 5 stages and may eventually lead to end stage renal disease (ESRD) or kidney failure. The goal of treating CKD is to best manage your health at every stage, which can help slow progression and keep your kidneys functioning as long as possible. At ESRD, treatment options for kidney failure include a kidney transplant or dialysis, which can help people live well for decades.


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10 facts about kidney disease

  1. About 15% of US adults have CKD. That’s about 37 million people.

  2. The leading causes of CKD are diabetes and high blood pressure. Together they account for 73% of new diagnoses.

  3. Most people are born with 2 kidneys, and you only need 1 to live a healthy life.

  4. Early detection and treatment is key. 9 out of 10 adults with CKD do not know they have it.

  5. Chronic kidney disease progresses in 5 stages and may eventually lead to complete kidney failure.

  1. The progression of CKDmay be slowed by following a kidney-friendly diet, managing medications, and making healthy lifestyle choices.

  2. Kidney disease affects people of all ages, though people 60 and over are the most likely to develop it.

  3. Certain ethnic groups, including African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, are at a higher risk of CKD.

  4. Many people with kidney disease are choosing to treat at home—nearly 61,000 people in 2017.

  5. More than 100,000 people in the US are waiting for kidney transplants. About 17,000 people a year receive one.

What are the signs or symptoms of kidney disease? 

Kidney disease is hard to detect early because many people do not experience symptoms until the later stages. CKD symptoms and signs may include changes in urination, fatigue, itching, back pain, or swelling of your hands or feet. The best way to understand your kidney health is by requesting a blood test from your doctor to measure your estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). Your eGFR is a measurement of how well your kidneys function to filter waste, toxins, and excess fluid from your body. Knowing your eGFR will help your doctor determine if you have kidney disease and what stage of kidney disease you may be in.

find out aBOUT kidney disease symptoms

Are you at risk for kidney disease?

There are certain factors that put you at a higher risk for CKD, including your family history, certain health conditions, ethnicity, or overuse of medications. Take action—early diagnosis is key! Get screened for CKD if you have any known risk factors, including diabetes or high blood pressure.

KNOW THE CKD risk factors

What causes CKD?

There are many factors that can contribute to kidney disease—most commonly, diabetes and high blood pressure. Even people who’ve taken excellent care of their health can be at risk for CKD.
Discover CKD Causes

How is kidney disease diagnosed?

Early detection is key to slowing the progression of CKD and preserving your kidney function. Make testing a priority! If you're at risk for CKD, talk to your doctor about monitoring your kidney health. Your doctor can determine if you have kidney disease by calculating your eGFR using the results of a creatinine blood test and other health information about you. If your eGFR falls within the later stages of kidney disease, you may receive a referral to a kidney doctor (nephrologist) to help you manage your kidney health.


Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) is a measurement that indicates how well your kidneys are working. Knowing your eGFR can help you understand which CKD stage you’re in.


There are 5 stages of chronic kidney disease. Your stage is determined by your level of kidney function. Knowing  your stage and what steps to take can help you stay your healthiest.

Learn About the Stages


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Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a sudden episode of kidney failure that occurs quickly over a short period of time. It’s important to recognize the differences between AKI and CKD.
learn more about AKI