Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood properly, leading to waste build-up in the body. Unfortunately, kidney disease is on the rise. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD), more than 20 million Americans may have kidney disease, and even more are at risk.

Types of Kidney Disease

Chronic Kidney Disease Acute Kidney Disease
Occurs slowly over the course of many years Occurs when a person has a sudden change in kidney function, which can be a result of illness, injury, or taking some medications.
Is a result of ongoing health issues such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Read below for more information on common health issues considered to be risk factors for chronic kidney disease. Can occur in someone with normal kidneys or in someone with pre-existing kidney problems.

In the majority of people with kidney disease, the damage occurs slowly over the course of many years due to risk factors such as diabetes or high blood pressure; this type of kidney disease is called chronic kidney disease.

While kidney disease can be treated if detected early, the disease often gets worse over time and can lead to kidney failure. It’s important to be aware of the risk factors.

Risk Factors for Kidney Disease

Kidney disease can occur in anyone, regardless of age or race. Unfortunately, a person with kidney disease may not feel sick or different until the disease is very advanced, so it’s important to be aware of the risk factors so that you can stay healthy.

According to the NIDDKD, certain age groups are at a higher risk for kidney disease:

  • The incidence of CKD is increasing most rapidly in people ages 65 and older.
  • The incidence of recognized CKD among 20- to 64-year-olds is less than 0.5 percent.

For additional kidney disease statistics in the United States, visit the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD) website.

The primary risk factors for kidney disease are:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Family history of kidney failure

Because these conditions can be chronic, kidney disease can be developing slowly over the course of many years.

Blood and urine tests are the best way to find out if you have kidney disease.