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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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Kidney Dialysis

Your kidneys help filter waste, excess fluid, and toxins from your blood. They are also important for blood cell production and bone health. If kidneys don't work properly, harmful substances build up in the body, blood pressure can rise, and too much fluid can collect in the body's tissues, which leads to swelling, called edema. If your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to take over their job.

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  • 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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