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Chronic Kidney Disease

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What Increases Your Risk

Some of the things that lead to chronic kidney disease are related to your age and your genetic makeup. You may be able to control other things that increase your risk, such as dietary habits and exercise.

Things you cannot control

The main risk factors for chronic kidney disease are:

  • Age. The kidneys begin to get smaller as people get older. By age 80, most people have lost about 30% of their kidney mass.
  • Race. African-Americans and Native Americans are more likely to get chronic kidney disease.
  • Being male. Men have a higher risk for chronic kidney disease than women do.
  • Family history. Family history is a factor in the development of both diabetes and high blood pressure, the major causes of chronic kidney disease. Polycystic kidney disease is one of several inherited diseases that cause kidney failure.

Things you may be able to control

You may be able to slow the progression of chronic kidney disease and prevent or delay kidney failure by controlling things that increase your risk of kidney damage, such as:

  • High blood pressure, which gradually damages the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys.
  • Diabetes. A persistently high blood sugar level can damage blood vessels in the kidneys. Over time, kidney damage can progress, and the kidneys may stop working altogether.
  • Eating protein and fats. Eating a diet low in protein and fat may reduce your risk for kidney disease.
  • Certain medicines. Avoid long-term use of medicines that can damage the kidneys, such as pain relievers called NSAIDs and certain antibiotics.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 15, 2011
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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