10 Risk Factors for CKD

Male patient at urologist's office; blog: 10 Risk Factors for CKD

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition in which the kidneys are damaged can’t filter blood properly, leading to serious complications. Certain people may be more likely to develop the condition. If you have any of the following risk factors for CKD, you should talk to your doctor about how to protect your kidney health.

1. Diabetes

According to the American Kidney Fund, diabetes is the number one cause of kidney failure. Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a condition that causes glucose to remain in the blood instead of being used for energy. High blood sugar can cause damage to blood vessels over time and lead to kidney disease.

2. High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the biggest risk factors for CKD and is the second leading cause of kidney failure after diabetes according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). High blood pressure increases the amount of force that blood places on the blood vessels. This eventually damages the blood vessels throughout the body, including in the kidneys.

3. Glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis is a disease that causes the tiny blood vessels that act as the kidney’s filtering units (glomeruli)  to become damaged. The cause of glomerulonephritis is not always known, but sometimes it is triggered by an infection. In other cases, the disease is hereditary.

4. Obesity

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways to protect your overall wellness. When you are carrying excess weight, the kidneys have to work harder to filter waste from your body. Over time, the extra work may cause them to lose some function. People who are obese are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. 

4. Cardiovascular Disease

Your heart’s health is closely linked to the health of your kidneys and vice versa. The kidneys and heart work together to keep clean and healthy blood flowing through your body.  Hypertension is a key part of why heart disease and CKD are connected. People with heart disease are more likely to have high blood pressure.

5. Smoking

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), smoking is the leading preventable cause of premature death in the US. Smoking can increase your risk of developing a number of serious health conditions including chronic kidney disease. It is also linked to a high risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, both of which can be risk factors for developing CKD.

6. Family History

People with a family history of kidney disease are at a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease. If you have a close relative like a parent, grandparent, or sibling with kidney disease, you may also develop the condition.

7. Age

Being over the age of 60 is one of the risks of CKD. The kidneys begin losing function as you get older. Like many other organs, they just don’t work as well as they did when you were younger. People over the age of 60 are also more likely to develop conditions that are linked to chronic kidney disease.

8. Race or Ethnicity

People of certain races and ethnicities are more likely to develop chronic kidney disease. It isn’t known why, but African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics are more likely to have kidney disease. These groups also have higher rates of high blood pressure and diabetes.

10. Other Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions that affect the kidneys can be risk factors of CKD and can lead to kidney failure.

  • Polycystic kidney disease: a genetic disease that causes multiple cysts to grow in the kidneys.
  • Acute kidney injury: Acute kidney injury (AKI) is when your kidneys stop working suddenly over a short period of time. Sometimes AKI can be treated and reversed, but if the kidneys are permanently damaged, CKD can develop.
  • Kidney cancer: Cancer that grows inside your kidneys.
  • Autoimmune disease: Diseases like lupus and IgA nephropathy that cause your immune system to attack your body, including the kidneys.

The team at Durham Nephrology is dedicated to providing comprehensive and compassionate care to the people of the Durham, NC area. Our physicians are experts in diagnosing and treating chronic kidney disease and related conditions. If you have questions or concerns about your risk of developing CKD, call us at 919-477-3005 to talk to a staff member and make an appointment.


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