Chronic kidney disease happens when the kidneys sustain damage and can no longer function properly. Certain individuals have a higher risk of kidney disease depending on genetics and lifestyle.
Understand the risk factors for kidney disease to be proactive about your health.
Underlying chronic conditions
People who have chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure can develop chronic kidney disease as a complication. These conditions cause damage to the blood vessels that keep the kidneys from filtering waste products from the blood. Autoimmune diseases such as lupus can also damage the kidneys. Other health problems that increase the risk for kidney complications include:
- High cholesterol
- Liver failure and cirrhosis
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Kidney stones
People who smoke cigarettes have a higher risk of chronic kidney disease than nonsmokers do, so quitting tobacco can lower your risk. Obesity is also a risk factor for kidney problems. Losing weight if you are overweight or obese can help prevent damage to the kidneys. You can also limit your risk by decreasing or eliminating dietary potassium, protein, fat and salt.
Permanent risk factors
While lifestyle measures can reduce some risk factors for kidney disease, it is impossible to change other risk factors. These include:
- Age of 65 or older
- Asian, Native American or African American race
- Genetic conditions such as polycystic kidney disease
Because chronic kidney disease does not cause symptoms until the advanced stages, doctors may fail to diagnose this condition. As a result, people who have kidney disease may be at risk for congestive heart failure, brittle bones and eventually end-stage renal failure, which is fatal. The disease may require dialysis treatment or even a kidney transplant.
People who have risk factors for kidney disease may benefit from regular screenings. If you think your doctor did not take the necessary steps to diagnose you or a loved one, you may be eligible for medical malpractice compensation.