What is kidney disease?


Kidney disease is a loss of kidney function. Commonly the loss function is gradual, known as chronic kidney disease. The kidney’s job in your body is to filter extra water and waste out of blood and make urine. So when there is a decrease in function, the kidneys aren’t filtering blood as they should. Kidneys can damage or worsen over several months or years. Chronic kidney disease can lead to kidney failure. 



Kidney disease can be caused by other diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Additionally, kidney disease may occur as a result of prolonged inflammation around or in the kidneys, hereditary diseases, polycystic kidney disease, prolonged kidney stone, drugs that are toxic to the kidneys, some cancers, or recurrent kidney infections. 

Diagnosis & Treatment?

Kidney disease diagnosis can be done by your family doctor, or sometimes an urologist. Diagnostic testing includes blood tests, urine testing, imaging tests, or a biopsy of kidney tissue for further testing. 


Treatment for kidney disease depends on the type, severity, and doctor’s recommendation. Commonly, there is not a cure for chronic kidney disease. There are treatment options available to target the cause of kidney disease. Some of the treatments available to treat causes of kidney disease are high blood pressure medication, medication to control diabetes, medications to reduce swelling, or a low protein diet. If kidney disease progresses there are options such as dialysis or a kidney transplant. 



One key element of kidney disease prevention is controlling other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Always talk with your doctor about your risk of developing kidney disease, and if you should be screened. A healthy diet with low sodium, low added fats, less fried foods, more fruits and vegetables, and staying hydrated with the recommended amount of water. Additional prevention tips include maintaining a healthy weight, exercise regularly, stop smoking, avoid excessive alcohol consumption, and get enough sleep at night. 

For more information: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease