A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition. Being age 65 or older increases your risk for kidney disease. Other risk factors include:
Diabetes is the most common cause of chronic kidney disease. It occurs when the body doesn’t process the sugar in the blood well. The amount of blood sugar—also called blood glucose—increases. High blood glucose damages the kidneys, as well as the heart, blood vessels, and eyes. The two most common types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is the second most common cause of chronic kidney disease. It occurs when there is high pressure within the arteries of the body. Hypertension damages the kidneys. Chronic kidney disease can also cause hypertension.
Inherited disease, such as polycystic kidney disease, which causes cysts to form in the kidneys, can lead to chronic kidney disease. There is a strong genetic influence in type 2 diabetes patients who later develop renal failure. A person whose mother, father, sister, or brother ever had kidney failure is more likely to develop chronic kidney disease.
Chronic kidney disease is more common among certain ethnic groups, including:
These groups are more likely to get chronic kidney disease because they are more likely to get diseases that lead to chronic kidney disease. Type 2 diabetes is more common among the populations listed than other people. African Americans are more likely to get hypertension than people of other ethnic groups.
Are you at increased risk for chronic kidney disease? National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: http://www.kidney.org/atoz/pdf/11-10-1814.pdf. Published 2010. Accessed July 2, 2013.
Chronic kidney disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated April 22, 2013. Accessed July 2, 2013.
End-stage renal disease. National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www2.niddk.nih.gov/Research/ScientificAreas/Kidney/KEB.htm. Updated September 15, 2010. Accessed July 2, 2013.
Kidney disease basics. National Kidney Disease Education Program website. Available at: http://www.nkdep.nih.gov/patients/kidney_disease_information.htm. Updated March 1, 2012. Accessed July 2, 2013.
Luke RG. Chronic renal failure. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Textbook Of Medicine. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 2004.
National Kidney Foundation. Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (K/DOQI) clinical practice guidelines for bone metabolism and disease in chronic kidney disease. Am J Kidney Dis. 2003; 42:S1-201.
National Kidney Foundation. Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (K/DOQI) clinical practice guidelines for chronic kidney disease: evaluation, classification, and stratification. Am J Kidney Dis. 2002;39:S1-266.
National Kidney Foundation. Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (K/DOQI) clinical practice guidelines on hypertension and antihypertensive agents in chronic kidney disease. Am J Kidney Dis. 2004; 43:S1-S29.
Snyder S, Pendergraph B. Detection and evaluation of chronic kidney disease. Am Fam Physicians. 2005;72:723-732.
Last reviewed May 2015 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.