Chronic Kidney Disease

What is Chronic Kidney Disease?


CKD is a condition where, because of one or many reasons, there's a permanent and progressive loss of kidney function.


CKD is a common illness that often goes undetected until very advanced stages. However, if detected and treated early, CKD may often be slowed down or stopped.


Most estimates place the number of people with CKD between 8% and 16%, affecting nearly 700 million adults worldwide in 2017. [2,8]

The kidney’s primary function is to filter waste and excess fluids from the blood. They achieve this by filtering the blood that circulates through them, excreting the wasteful products and excess fluids through the urine.

In early stages of the disease, the kidneys can still partially perform tasks such as excreting toxic substances, regulating the water balance and producing certain hormones, but as the disease progresses, the kidneys are less and less able to perform their tasks. 

As a result, toxic substances that are normally excreted in the urine accumulate in the blood and organs. These substances disrupt the body’s balance and internal equilibrium. 

In addition, the kidneys produce fewer hormones that are needed for blood production and bone metabolism. CKD can progress to end-stage kidney failure, which requires artificial filtering of the blood (known as dialysis) or a kidney


In the US, CKD affects up to 15% of the adult population; that’s more than 1 in 7 adults and approximately 90% of those with CKD don’t even know they have it. 1 in 3 American adults (approximately 80 million people) are at risk for CKD. [3]

CKD may progress slowly over a long time. A lot of people are not aware that they have kidney disease until the disease is advanced and severe. However, if detected and treated early, CKD may often be slowed down or controlled.





  1. Adapted from Findlay’s and Isles’ “Clinical Companion in Nephrology”, Springer Ed., 2015.
  2. Adapted from “Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology”, 6th edition, Elsevier Ed., 2015. 
  3. National Kidney Foundation
  5. Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) CKD Work Group. KDIGO 2012 Clinical Practice Guideline for the Evaluation and Management of Chronic Kidney Disease. Kidney inter., Suppl. 2013; 3: 1–150.
  6. Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) Lipid Work Group. KDIGO Clinical Practice Guideline for Lipid Management in Chronic Kidney Disease. Kidney inter., Suppl. 2013; 3: 259–305.
  7. “Diabetic Nephropathy”, American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Care 2002 Jan; 25 (suppl 1): s85-s89.
  8. Global, regional, and national burden of chronic kidney disease, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study, 2017.


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