Chronic kidney disease

Alternative Names

Kidney failure – chronic; Renal failure – chronic; Chronic renal insufficiency; Chronic kidney failure; Chronic renal failure

Definition of Chronic kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease is the slow loss of kidney function over time. The main function of the kidneys is to remove wastes and excess water from the body.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) slowly gets worse over time. In the early stages, there may be no symptoms. The loss of function usually takes months or years to occur. It may be so slow that symptoms do not occur until kidney function is less than one-tenth of normal.

Symptoms

The early symptoms of chronic kidney disease often occur with other illnesses, as well. These symptoms may be the only signs of kidney disease until the condition is more advanced.

Signs and tests

High blood pressure is almost always present during all stages of chronic kidney disease. A neurologic examination may show signs of nerve damage. The health care provider may hear abnormal heart or lung sounds with a stethoscope.

Treatment

Controlling blood pressure is the key to delaying further kidney damage.

Expectations (prognosis)

Many people are not diagnosed with chronic kidney disease until they have lost much of their kidney function.

Review

Parul Patel, MD, Private practice specializing in Nephrology and Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation, Affiliated with California Medical Center, Department of Transplantation, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/12/2009

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ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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