Kidney 101: What You Need to Know About Kidney Disease

What you need to know about kidney disease- Kidney Disease Facts

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. They are located just below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine. Every day, the two kidneys filter about 120 to 150 quarts of blood to produce about 1 to 2 quarts of urine, composed of wastes and extra fluid. Kidney disease means your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood the way they should.

Acute kidney injury can be caused by an event that leads to kidney malfunction, such as dehydration, blood loss from major surgery or injury, or the use of medicines.  Acute kidney injury can be reversible .

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can be caused by a long-term disease, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, that slowly damages the kidneys and reduces their function over time. CKD means your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood the way they should.

The main risk factors for developing kidney disease are diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and a family history of kidney failure. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of kidney disease. Your health care provider may do tests to find out why you have kidney disease. The cause of your kidney disease may affect the type of treatment you receive.

Testing may be the only way to know if you have kidney disease. Get checked if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or a family history of kidney failure. The sooner you know you have kidney disease, the sooner you can get treatment.

You can take steps to protect your kidneys. The most important step you can take to treat kidney disease is to control your blood pressure. Healthy habits can also help you manage your kidney disease.

Learn about kidney disease and treatment options.

Suggested reading if you have recently been diagnosed or want to know how to live a fulfilling live in spite of kidney disease:

Call RSN's Peer Support HOPEline to talk to someone who's been there.

kidney disease support phone line - Hope and help answering all your questions about living well with kidney disease.

(800) 579-1970 (toll-free) Monday through Friday from 10am to 6pm (PT)