What Puts People at Risk for Chronic Kidney Disease?

Doctor talking with patient about their risks of CKD.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a serious health condition that affects the kidneys’ ability to filter waste and excess fluids from the blood. It’s a gradual process that can lead to dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes in the body. Understanding the risk factors for CKD can help in its prevention and management.

Major Risk Factors

  • Diabetes: Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are leading causes of CKD. High blood sugar levels can damage the kidneys’ filters, impairing their ability to remove waste and excess fluids from the body.
  • High Blood Pressure: This is the second most common cause of CKD. High blood pressure can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys, affecting their function.
  • Heart Disease: People with heart disease are at a higher risk of developing CKD.
  • Obesity: Obesity is a risk factor for CKD, as it can lead to diabetes and high blood pressure, both of which can cause kidney damage.
  • Family History of CKD: If you have a family history of CKD, you are at a higher risk of developing the disease.
  • Older Age: The risk of CKD increases with age.
  • Inherited Kidney Disorders: Conditions like polycystic kidney disease can increase the risk of CKD.
  • Past Damage to the Kidneys: Any previous damage to the kidneys can increase the risk of CKD.

Other Risk Factors

Other conditions that can increase the risk of CKD include glomerulonephritis, an inflammation of the kidney’s filtering units and interstitial nephritis, an inflammation of the kidney’s tubules and surrounding structures. Autoimmune conditions like lupus, severe infections like sepsis and exposure to certain drugs or toxins can also lead to CKD.

Prevention & Management

Preventing and managing CKD involves controlling the risk factors. Regular check-ups, managing blood sugar and blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet and regular exercise can all contribute to kidney health. If you have a condition that increases your risk of CKD, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, it’s important to manage it carefully under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

In conclusion, certain factors increase the risk while anyone can develop CKD. By understanding these risk factors and taking steps to manage them, it’s possible to reduce the risk of developing CKD and slow its progression if it does occur.

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