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Kidney Failure

Chronic kidney disease and chronic kidney failure means permanent kidney damage. It occurs when the kidneys are unable to properly get rid of fluid and waste from the blood.  As a result, dangerous amounts of fluids, waste and toxins build up in the body instead of being disposed of in the urine.  Sometimes kidney failure occurs suddenly, which is called acute kidney failure, and at other times, kidney failure develops slowly, which is called chronic kidney failure, or uremia.  Chronic kidney failure is also called end-stage renal disease.  When a person develops chronic kidney failure, artificial kidney treatments (dialysis), or kidney transplantation, are necessary to maintain life.

Diabetes is the leading casue of chronic kidney disease, and hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the second leading cause.  About 1 out of every 3 persons with chronic kidney disease has diabetes, and diabetes and hypertension, together, cause about 2 out of every 3 cases of chronic kidney disease.

With loss of kidney function, water; waster; and toxic substances accumulate in the body that are normally excreted by the kidney.  Loss of kidney function also causes other problems such as anemia, high blood pressure, acidosis (increased amount of acid in the body fluids), disorders of cholesterol and fatty acids, and bone disease.

Relationship to Race/Ethnicity

Chronic kidney disease is more common in African Americans than in any other group in the United States.  Also, hypertension or high blood pressure, which is the second leading cause of chronic kidney disease, is more common in African-Americans than in any other group.  Diabetes and hypertension together cause about 2 out of every 3 cases of chronic kidney disease.  Click here for more information on chronic kidney disease, and kidney failure, including the 5 stages of chronic kidney disease.

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