Chronic Kidney Disease

Having chronic kidney disease means that for some time your kidneys have not been working the way they should. Your kidneys have the important job of filtering your blood. They remove waste products and extra fluid and flush them from your body as urine. When your kidneys do not work right, wastes build up in your blood and make you sick.
 
Each of your kidneys has about a million tiny filters. If the filters are damaged, they stop working. For a while, healthy filters can take on the extra work. But if the damage continues, more and more filters shut down. After a certain point, the filters that are left cannot filter your blood well enough to keep you healthy.
 
One way to measure how well your kidneys are working is to figure out your glomerular filtration rate (GFR). The GFR is usually calculated using results from your blood creatinine test. Then the stage of kidney disease is figured out using the GFR. There are five stages of kidney disease, from kidney damage with normal GFR to kidney failure.

There are things you can do to slow or stop the damage to your kidneys. Taking medicines and making some lifestyle changes can help you manage your disease and feel better. Chronic kidney disease is also called chronic renal failure or chronic renal insufficiency.

Chronic kidney disease may seem to have come on suddenly. But it has been happening bit by bit for many years as a result of damage to your kidneys.

Take the kidney quiz.

Helpful Documents

View and print these helpful chronic kidney disease handouts

Kidney Disease and Dialysis
Kidney Disease and Peritoneal Dialysis
Kidney Disease and Types of Vascular Access
Kidney Disease: Changing Your Diet
Kidney Disease: Controlling Your Blood Pressure
Kidney Disease: ESA Medicines For Anemia
Kidney Disease: Hemodialysis
How The Kidneys Work
Kidney Disease: How To Control Your Fluids
Kidney Disease: How To Get The Right Amount of Protein
Kidney Disease: How To Keep Your Sodium Low
Kidney Function Tests
Kidney Transplants
The Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease
Treatment of Kidney Failure
Kidney Transplant Surgery Overview

Source: National Kidney Foundation, www.kidney.org