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Chronic Kidney Disease

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Cause

The cause of chronic kidney disease isn't always known. But any condition or disease that damages blood vessels or other structures in the kidneys can lead to kidney disease. The most common causes of chronic kidney disease are:

  • Diabetes. High blood sugar levels caused by diabetes damage blood vessels in the kidneys. If the blood sugar level remains high over many years, this damage gradually reduces the function of the kidneys.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension). Uncontrolled high blood pressure damages blood vessels, which can lead to damage in the kidneys. And blood pressure often rises with chronic kidney disease, so high blood pressure may further damage kidney function even when another medical condition initially caused the disease.

Other conditions that can damage the kidneys and cause chronic kidney disease include:

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Understanding Kidney Disease -- Symptoms

Early detection is the first step in treating chronic kidney disease. The symptoms of kidney disease may include: Nausea and vomiting Passing only small amounts of urine Swelling, particularly of the ankles, and puffiness around the eyes Unpleasant taste in the mouth and urine-like odor to the breath Persistent fatigue or shortness of breath Loss of appetite Increasingly higher blood pressure Muscle cramps, especially in the legs Pale skin Excessively dry, itchy s...

Read the Understanding Kidney Disease -- Symptoms article > >

  • Kidney diseases and infections, such as polycystic kidney disease, pyelonephritis, glomerulonephritis, or a kidney problem you were born with.
  • Having a narrowed or blocked renal artery. A renal artery carries blood to the kidneys.
  • Long-term use of medicines that can damage the kidneys. Examples include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as celecoxib and ibuprofen, and certain antibiotics.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of chronic kidney disease that leads to kidney failure. Diabetes or high blood pressure may also speed up the progression of chronic kidney disease in someone who already has the disease.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 29, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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