Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also known as chronic renal disease (CRD), is a progressive loss in renal function over a period of months or years.

Causes

Chronic kidney disease is caused by damage to the kidneys. The most common causes of this damage are:

  • High blood pressure.
  • High blood sugar (diabetes).

Other things that can lead to chronic kidney disease include:

  • Kidney diseases and infections, such as polycystic kidney disease, pyelonephritis, and glomerulonephritis, or a kidney problem you were born with.
  • A narrowed or blocked renal artery. The renal artery carries blood to the kidneys.
  • Long-term use of medicines that can damage the kidneys. Examples include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil) and celecoxib (Celebrex).

Symptoms

You may start to have symptoms only a few months after your kidneys begin to fail. But most people don't have symptoms early on. In fact, many don't have symptoms for as long as 30 years or more. This is called the "silent" phase of the disease.

How well your kidneys work is called kidney function. As your kidney function gets worse, you may:

  • Urinate less than normal.
  • Have swelling from fluid buildup in your tissues. This is called edema (say "ih-DEE-muh").
  • Feel very tired or sleepy.
  • Not feel hungry, or you may lose weight without trying.
  • Often feel sick to your stomach (nauseated) or vomit.
  • Have trouble sleeping.
  • Have headaches or trouble thinking clearly.