Chronic kidney disease is the slow loss of kidney function over time. The main job of the kidneys is to remove wastes and excess water from the body.
Kidney failure - chronic; Renal failure - chronic; Chronic renal insufficiency; Chronic kidney failure; Chronic renal failure
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) slowly gets worse over months or years. You may not notice any symptoms for some time. The loss of function may be so slow that you do not have symptoms until your kidneys have almost stopped working.
The final stage of CKD is called end-stage renal disease (ESRD). At this stage, the kidneys are no longer able to remove enough wastes and excess fluids from the body. At this point, you would need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Many other diseases and conditions can damage the kidneys, including:
- Autoimmune disorders (such as systemic lupus erythematosus and scleroderma)
- Birth defects of the kidneys (such as polycystic kidney disease)
- Some toxic chemicals
- Injury to the kidney
- Kidney stones and infection
- Problems with the arteries feeding the kidneys
- Some medicines, such as pain and cancer drugs
- Backward flow of urine into the kidneys (reflux nephropathy)
CKD leads to a buildup of fluid and waste products in the body. This condition affects most body systems and functions, including:
- High blood pressure
- Low blood cell count
- Vitamin D and bone health