One in seven adults in the U.S. has CKD but may not know it

how common is CKD?

A longer, healthier life starts with understanding CKD 

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:

  • Kidney transplant – about 21,000 transplants are performed each year.
  • Dialysis – more than 460,000 people receive dialysis treatments each year.

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.

CKD in the U.S.

  • It’s estimated that 37 million adults (1 in 7 or 15%) have CKD.
  • Diabetes is the primary cause of CKD in 47% of adults.
  • High blood pressure is the primary cause of CKD in 29% of adults.

Ask your doctor, “What’s my GFR?”

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.

difference between CKD and ESRD

Know the difference between CKD and ESKD

  • Your GFR tells you how well your kidneys work. 
  • If your GFR is below 60, your doctor may diagnose you with CKD.
  • Kidney replacement treatment usually begins when GFR falls below 15. Once treatment begins, someone is considered to be living with End-stage Kidney Disease (ESKD)

Symptoms of kidney disease

Most symptoms don’t become noticeable until the later stages of CKD. Some people may experience:

  • Swelling of ankles, feet, face or hands
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Decreased appetite
  • Metallic taste
  • Nausea
  • Itching
  • Blood or protein in the urine

Risk factors for kidney disease

Talk to your doctor about your kidney health, especially if any of the following conditions apply to you:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypertension/high blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease 
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Family member has/had kidney disease
  • African American, Hispanic or Native American
  • Overuse of medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen (NSAIDs)
  • Frequent use of street drugs

Lifestyle changes to prolong kidney health

Choices you make can help keep your kidneys as healthy as possible. Healthier kidneys mean slowing the progression of CKD and delaying the need for kidney replacement treatment. 
Eat kidney-friendly meals. Choose foods to help you control weight and diabetes. Look for ways to add flavor without salt.
Stop smoking and reduce alcohol use. These can raise blood pressure, which is a common cause of kidney disease.
Get enough exercise. Living an active lifestyle helps control weight and diabetes. It also helps you cope with stress and improve your sleep.

3 ways to prevent or slow CKD progression

  1. Ask your doctor to screen you for CKD every year. Know your glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and what that number means
  2. Manage any health conditions you may have, especially diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
  3. Choose a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, smart eating, no smoking and limited alcohol