Chronic kidney disease, also called chronic kidney failure, involves a gradual loss of kidney function. Your kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood, which are then removed in your urine.
Advanced chronic kidney disease can cause dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes, and wastes to build up in the body. In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, you might have few signs or symptoms. You might not realize that you have kidney disease until the condition is advanced.
Treatment for chronic kidney disease focuses on slowing the progression of kidney damage, usually by controlling the cause. However, even controlling the cause might not keep kidney damage from progressing. Chronic kidney disease can progress to end-stage kidney failure, which is fatal without artificial filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant.
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Signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease develop over time if kidney damage progresses slowly. Loss of kidney function can cause a buildup of fluid or body waste or electrolyte problems. Depending on how severe it is, loss of kidney function can cause these effects:
Signs and symptoms of kidney disease are often nonspecific. This means they also can be caused by other illnesses. Because your kidneys are able to make up for lost function, you might not develop signs and symptoms until irreversible damage has occurred.
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have signs or symptoms of kidney disease. Early detection might help prevent kidney disease from progressing to kidney failure. If you have a medical condition that increases your risk of kidney disease, your doctor may monitor your blood pressure and kidney function with urine and blood tests during office visits. Ask your doctor whether these tests are necessary for you.
Chronic kidney disease 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:
There are risk factors factors that can increase your risk of chronic kidney disease include:
Chronic kidney disease can affect almost every part of the body. Potential complications include:
To reduce your risk of developing kidney disease: