The Effects CKD Can Have on the Rest of Your Body

illustration of the effects CKD can have on the rest of your body.

When dealing with chronic kidney disease (CKD), the disease’s effects, such as gradual loss of kidney function, have severe implications for various other systems within the body. While either high blood pressure or diabetes typically causes CKD, the damage to your kidneys can lead to more problems with other parts of the body. While high blood pressure is one of the leading causes of CKD, high blood pressure can also result from CKD. Other complications associated with CKD can lead to heart disease, bone disease, nerve damage, and more. In order for you to understand the grander scope of your total body health, we are devoting some time to discussing the effects CKD can have on the rest of your body.

Sexual Health

In addition to fatigue that can lead to a reduced sex drive, CKD causes hormonal changes in both men and women. These changes, often found in advanced cases of CKD, can contribute to a decrease in libido. 


Women with advanced kidney disease may experience a disruption in menstruation cycles and interference with ovulation. This interference is caused by a buildup of toxins that coincides with hormonal changes. For men with CKD, semen analysis has shown low sperm counts as well as poor sperm quality. 


Anemia is a condition in which the body has a lower-than-normal count of red blood cells. When the kidneys are damaged, they produce less erythropoietin, a necessary hormone in the red blood cell creation process. In addition to reduced red blood cell production, those with CKD also cause the red blood cells to have a shorter life span within the bloodstream, so the red blood cells die at a higher rate than they are replaced. When the body has a low count of red blood cells, tissues and organs like the heart and brain may not get enough oxygen to function correctly.

Bone Disease

Hormone abnormalities caused by damaged kidneys can also lead to a buildup of calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood. This buildup can ultimately lead to mineral and bone disorders. Minerals and hormones are essential to achieving a balance that allows the bones to remain strong. When an imbalance occurs, slowed bone growth and deformities can occur.  

Heart Disease

Heart disease is a common cause of death for all people with CKD. Kidneys function to support other parts of your body, including your heart. The kidneys are also responsible for regulating your hormone system, which in turn controls your blood pressure. When the kidneys are not functioning correctly, your heart has to work harder, leading to heart disease.

Nerve Damage

Peripheral neuropathy affects approximately 90% of dialysis patients, making it the most common neurological complication associated with CKD. Those with peripheral neuropathy may experience pain, loss of sensation, and weakness.

The systems within the body do not operate independently, but they rely on other systems to function correctly. The kidneys are a key player, with many organs and tissues relying on them to work correctly. If you have any symptoms of CKD, it is crucial to seek treatment before the damage advances.

Make an Appointment

At Durham Nephrology, our team is experienced in providing treatment and guidance to kidney patients. Our physicians are experts in diagnosing and treating chronic kidney disease or any other issues with the kidneys. If you have questions or concerns about your kidneys or any of the effects that chronic kidney disease may have on the rest of your body, call us at 919-477-3005 to talk to a staff member and make an appointment.


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