The kidneys filter the blood and help remove waste and extra fluid from the body, in addition to controlling the chemical balance of the body. The kidneys also play a role in regulating blood pressure, and kidney disease may lead to the development of high blood pressure (hypertension). As with other organs, kidney function may be slightly reduced with aging.

The kidneys are part of the urinary system, which also includes the ureters and the bladder. Bladder control can be affected by muscle changes and changes in the reproductive system.

Kidney disease is classified as any disease or disorder that affects the function of the kidneys.

Facts About Kidney Disease

  • 26 million American adults have chronic kidney disease and million of others are at risk.
  • High-risk groups include people with diabetes, high blood pressure and a family history of kidney failure. Diabetes and high blood pressure cause two-thirds of all cases in the U.S. 
  • Early kidney disease usually has no symptoms.
  • Blood and urine tests are the only way to check for kidney damage or measure kidney function. 
  • End-stage kidney failure - when 85 to 90 percent of kidney function is gone - marks the point when patients are offered dialysis, which can remove waste, salt and extra water from your body while keeping other chemicals in the the body at safe levels.
  • Dialysis does not restore kidney function and there is no cure for kidney disease. 
  • Kidney transplants, from deceased or living donors, offer hope to patients with kidney disease of resuming the most normal life. Transplanted kidneys typically function properly for many years.