Chronic Kidney Disease

What is Chronic Kidney Disease and Who Gets It?

Reprinted with permission from DaVita, Inc.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) occurs over time when kidneys become damaged or diseased and no longer function properly. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of chronic kidney disease in the U.S. and there are some people who are at a greater risk for getting chronic kidney disease than others.

What is chronic kidney disease and who gets it?

Your kidneys are vital to the overall health of your body. These bean-shaped organs located near the middle of your back work to remove wastes and fluid from your blood.

When your body digests food, it takes the nutrients it needs and sends the leftover wastes through your blood for the kidneys to filter. Your hard-working kidneys filter about 200 quarts of blood each day. The end result is about 2 quarts of waste products and excess fluid, which is passed from the body as urine.

Along with removing waste products, your kidneys are responsible for other important functions:

  • Balancing bodily fluids
  • Filtering drugs from the body
  • Regulating the production of red blood cells
  • Releasing hormones that maintain blood pressure
  • Producing a form of vitamin D that supports healthy bones and helps maintain chemical balance in the body

You may have heard of renal function. This is a term used by doctors and other health care providers to indicate how well your kidneys are currently functioning. For instance, if you have two healthy, normal kidneys, you have 100 percent renal function. In reality, this is more renal function than is needed for survival. In fact, a person born with just a single kidney can go on to live a long and healthy life.

When a person's kidneys get damaged or diseased, their function is compromised. With chronic kidney disease, kidneys can lose function over the years. As kidney function decreases to less than 60 percent, a person may start to feel symptoms. When renal function falls below 10 percent to 15 percent, an individual is diagnosed with end stage renal disease and will need either dialysis or a kidney transplant in order to survive.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3

Last Modified Date: July 09, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

Sign up for FREE dLife Newsletters

dLife Membership is FREE! Get exclusive access, free recipes, newsletters, savings, and much more! FPO

You are subscribed!
You are subscribed!
You are subscribed!
102 Views 0 comments
by Carey Potash
Charlie’s 12-year anniversary with type 1 just passed and I still know nothing about this diabetes and why it hates us so much. As if to remind us that it was its anniversary, diabetes unleashed hell on Friday. Charlie was stranded well over 400 for hours and even tipped the scale at 580. Susanne pulled Charlie out of school and started what became a wartime exercise in futility. It was one of the worst blood sugar days we’ve had in years. ...