Kidney conditions

About chronic kidney disease

Start learning about chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition that affects millions of people worldwide.1

Meet your kidneys.

Most people have two kidneys located on either side of the spine, just below the ribs. They are relatively small — about the size of a fist — but they do a lot of work to keep you healthy. Every 30 minutes, they filter all the blood in your body. They also:

  • Remove waste and excess fluid
  • Control red blood cell production
  • Release hormones to regulate blood pressure
  • Regulate levels of calcium, potassium, and other nutrients

What is chronic kidney disease?

Chronic kidney disease, or CKD, occurs when the kidneys are damaged in some way — often by diabetes and high blood pressure — and their ability to filter blood is compromised. This causes the body to retain more fluid and waste than it should, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, and anemia, among other health issues.

1 in 3

people in the U.S. are at risk for kidney disease.2

1 in 7

adults in the U.S. or 37 million people, have kidney disease.1


people receive a kidney transplant every year.3

Risk factors for CKD

Certain factors may make you more likely to develop CKD than other people. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Heart disease
  • Family history of kidney failure
  • Older age
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Differences in race and ethnicity

Populations with higher rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other risk factors experience higher rates of CKD.4 Access to healthcare also plays a role in these differences:

  • Hispanics or Latinos are more likely to have kidney failure than white Americans.5
  • Black or African Americans are more than three times as likely to have kidney failure than white Americans.5
  • Other affected groups include people whose heritage is Asian American, Pacific Islander, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Other Pacific Islander.5

Symptoms of CKD

If you have CKD, you may not notice any symptoms. This is why early detection and treatment is important. Symptoms, when they do occur may include4:

  • Fatigue, weakness, and trouble focusing
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting
  • Problems sleeping
  • Needing to urinate more often (especially at night)
  • Muscle cramps and swollen feet/ankles
  • Puffiness around the eyes (especially in the morning)
  • Dry and/or itchy skin
Man sitting at a table with a woman standing over him as they both look at a laptop

What comes next?

CKD often worsens over time so it should not be left untreated. If you require a kidney transplant or dialysis, CKD progresses to end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). However, there are two important facts to keep in mind:

  • Treatment of CKD can slow this progression
  • Not everyone with CKD progresses to ESKD

Talk to your doctor.



Chronic kidney disease (CKD). National Kidney Foundation. Available at: Accessed on October 31, 2023.


Kidney Pathways: Kidneys and Your Health. National Kidney Foundation. Available at: Accessed on October 31, 2023.


What is Chronic Kidney Disease? Fresenius Kidney Care. Available at: Accessed on October 31, 2023.


Chronic kidney disease: Symptoms & causes. Mayo Clinic. Available at: Accessed on October 31, 2023.


Race, Ethnicity, and Kidney Disease. National Kidney Foundation. Available at: Accessed on October 31, 2023.