Chronic Kidney Disease Fast Facts

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a long-term condition characterized by the gradual loss of kidney function over time. The kidneys play a crucial role in filtering waste products and excess fluids from the blood, producing urine, and maintaining a balance of electrolytes. When the kidneys are damaged and their function declines, waste products and fluids can accumulate in the body, leading to various health problems.

The progression of chronic kidney disease is divided into stages, ranging from Stage 1 to Stage 5, with Stage 1 being the mildest and Stage 5 representing end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The stages are determined based on the glomerular filtration rate (GFR), a measure of how well the kidneys are filtering blood.

Top two causes of chronic kidney disease are:

    1. Diabetes: Uncontrolled diabetes is a leading cause of CKD. High blood sugar levels can damage the kidneys over time.
    2. Hypertension (High Blood Pressure): Elevated blood pressure can strain the small blood vessels in the kidneys, leading to damage.


Prevalence of Kidney Disease in the United States:

  • Kidney Disease is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • More than 1 in 7 US adults–about 35.5 million people, or 14%–are estimated to have CKD.
  • As many as 9 in 10 adults with CKD do not know they have it.
  • About 1 in 3 adults with severe CKD do not know they have CKD.
  • Early kidney disease has no signs or symptoms.
  • Kidney disease can affect people of all ages and races. African Americans, Hispanics, and Native American tend to have a greater risk for kidney failure.
  • Getting checked for kidney disease and learning about what you can do to keep your kidney healthy can help delay or even prevent kidney failure by treating kidney disease early.


Kidney Disease Symptoms

  • Swelling or numbness in feet, ankles, or hands
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in urination (frequency, color, foam in urine)
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Difficulty concentrating, mental confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Changes in skin color (yellowish tint)
  • Itchy skin
  • Fragile bones
  • Muscle twitching, especially in legs


Kidney Disease Treatment Options
When kidneys fail, it means that they are no longer able to adequately perform their essential functions, leading to a buildup of waste products and fluids in the body. The condition where kidneys fail to function properly is known as kidney failure or end-stage renal disease (ESRD). There are only three options for treatment to ESRD, dialysis, kidney transplant or palliative care.

Dialysis is a medical procedure that helps remove waste products and excess fluids from the blood when the kidneys can no longer perform this function adequately. Dialysis treatment options include In-center hemodialysis, home hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

Hemodialysis uses a machine to pump pumped from the body into a dialysis machine, which contains a special filter called a dialyzer or artificial kidney that removes toxins and excess fluid from the body. A temporary and permanent vascular access must be surgically implanted into the person prior to receiving hemodialysis. Hemodialysis can be done at home or at a dialysis clinic.

Peritoneal dialysis is done at home and uses the peritoneum, a membrane in the abdomen, as a natural filter for the exchange of fluids and waste products. It can be done manually throughout the day or overnight with a machine. To perform peritoneal dialysis, a catheter is surgically implanted into the abdominal cavity. This catheter serves as the access point for the introduction and removal of fluid.

Kidney Transplant
Kidney Transplant: Transplantation involves replacing a failed kidney with a healthy one from a living or deceased donor.

The Need:
Over 100,000 people are waiting for transplants with over 85 percent of people needing a kidney. The wait time for a kidney can be up to 10 years. Without life-sustaining dialysis or a kidney transplant, that person will not survive. Kidney transplants have a tremendous success rate.


The Facts:

    • Anyone can become an organ donor, no matter your medical history or how old you are.
    • One organ donor can save up to eight lives.
    • Organs and tissues that can be donated include: heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, liver, intestines, corneas, skin, tendons, bone, and heart valves.
    • After you have indicated your wishes on your drivers’ license or in a national or state registry, tell your family so they understand and can communicate your decision when you cannot.
    • 95% of U.S. adults support organ donation, but only 60% have registered as donors.
    • Anyone can sign up to be an organ donor at the organ donor after they pass away Organ Donor Registry 


Living Kidney Donation:
The wait for a deceased kidney varies across the county and can average up to ten years in some geographical locations. There is a shortage of available kidneys from deceased donors and living donation can help close the gap.

A living kidney donor can live a normal, healthy life with just one kidney. There are minimal side effects after a kidney donation. If a living kidney donor’s remaining kidney function declines or fails, they are placed at the top of the kidney wait list.

A living donor can benefit a person whose kidneys are no longer functioning or are about to fail for many reasons. Here are just a few:

  • It would reduce and possibly eliminate the wait time for a diseased kidney.
  • You can schedule the surgery for both the donor and the recipient for when the recipient is ready and it is convenient for the donor.
  • The recovery time for the recipient is often quicker than it would be with a deceased donor.
  • Anyone can sign up to be a living organ donor at the National Kidney Registry


Palliative Care:
Kidney failure without life-sustaining dialysis treatment or transplant is fatal. The overall aim of palliative care is to enhance quality of life, alleviate suffering, and provide support for patients and families throughout the illness and end-of-life trajectory.

Learn about kidney disease and youth