Author: Jeffrey S Berns, MD | Section Editor: Gary C Curhan, MD, ScD | Deputy Editor: Shveta Motwani, MD, MMSc, FASN | Content provided by

Chronic kidney disease (CKD, also called kidney failure or renal failure) is a condition in which the kidneys lose some of their ability to remove waste products and excess fluid from the bloodstream. As waste products and fluids build up in the body, other body systems are affected, which can be harmful to your health.

The most common causes of CKD are diabetes and high blood pressure. In the early stages of CKD, there are no symptoms. The disease can progress to complete kidney failure, also called end-stage kidney disease. This occurs when kidney function has worsened to the point that dialysis or kidney transplantation is required to maintain good health and even life, which is typically when kidney function is approximately 10 percent or less of the normal kidney function.

The main goal of treatment is to prevent progression of CKD to complete kidney failure. The best way to do this is to diagnose CKD early and control the underlying cause.

The symptoms, evaluation, and management of CKD will be reviewed here. Kidney transplantation, peritoneal dialysis, and hemodialysis are discussed separately.

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