by Scholten A
(CKD; Chronic Renal Disease)


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is when the kidneys do not filter blood the right way. It happens over a long period of time. This causes waste to build up in the body and leads to other health problems.

Anatomy of the Kidney
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


CKD is caused by damage or disease in the kidneys. Common causes include:

Risk Factors

CFD is more common in older adults. Smoking and alcohol use disorder are the main risk factors. Other things that may raise the risk are:


CKD may cause problems such as:

  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Not wanting to eat
  • Nausea
  • Itching
  • Feeling that it is hard to breathe
  • Change in how food tastes
  • Feeling confused, restless, or sad


The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam may be done. Blood and urine tests will be done to see how well the kidneys are working.

Other tests will be done to find a cause. You may need to see a doctor who treats kidney diseases.


There is no cure. The goal of treatment is to prevent or slow damage and manage problems. Options are:


The doctor may advise stopping or changing any medicines that hurt the kidneys.

Medicines may be given to:

  • Control health problems that hurt the kidneys, such as high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Manage problems caused by CKD, such as swelling, nausea, or feeling tired.

Lifestyle Changes

The doctor may advise:

  • Not smoking
  • Dietary changes
  • Regular exercise

People with severe CKD may need:

  • Dialysis —a machine that cleans the blood
  • A kidney transplant


To lower the risk of CKD:

  • Manage health problems that can cause kidney damage, such as high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise
  • Do not smoke
  • Limit alcohol


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases  https// 

National Kidney Foundation 


Health Canada 

The Kidney Foundation of Canada 


Chronic kidney disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Available at: Accessed December 28, 2020.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed December 28, 2020.

Gaitonde DY, Cook DL, Rivera IM. Chronic kidney disease: detection and evaluation. Am Fam Physician. 2017;96(12):776-783.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2020
  • Update Date: 12/28/2020