What Is Kidney Disease?

An illustration of two kidneys

Kidney disease results from damage to the nephrons, the tiny structures
inside your kidneys that filter blood.

Usually the damage occurs very gradually over years. It happens in both
kidneys. There aren’t any obvious symptoms, so you don’t know it’s

Common causes of kidney disease

  • Diabetes: In diabetes, the body doesn’t use glucose (sugar) very well. The
    glucose stays in your blood and acts like a poison. If you have diabetes, you
    can prevent kidney disease by controlling your blood sugar levels.
  • High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure can damage the small blood vessels
    in your kidneys. When this happens your kidneys cannot filter wastes from your
    blood very well. If you have high blood pressure (hypertension) be sure to take
    any medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • Heredity: Some kidney diseases result from hereditary factors, and can run
    in families. If your family has a history of any kind of kidney problems, you
    may be at risk for kidney disease and should talk to your doctor.