When someone has chronic kidney disease (CKD), their kidneys aren’t as effective in removing waste products and extra fluid from their blood.
Usually, this happens slowly over time. Symptoms also develop slowly and may include common things like fatigue, loss of appetite or ankle swelling. Some people have no symptoms until CKD makes them very sick, usually when kidney function falls below 10% of normal.
CKD is diagnosed by simple, quick and inexpensive blood tests. If the disease is discovered early, most people can prolong their kidney function through lifestyle changes and medication.
There’s no cure for CKD. When kidney function falls below 10%, most people begin kidney replacement treatment. There are two types of treatment:
In the U.S. alone, more than 37 million people are living with CKD. Dozens of organizations support CKD patients and their families, ready to educate, encourage and advance care for longer, healthier lives.
Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is a test used to check how well your kidneys work. A specialist combines the results of your blood test with other factors to estimate your GFR and your stage of CKD. Ask your doctor to check your GFR at your annual visit or if you have risk factors for CKD.
Most symptoms don’t become noticeable until the later stages of CKD. Some people may experience:
Talk to your doctor about your kidney health, especially if any of the following conditions apply to you: