Scientists report that the global rate of people dying with kidney disease has seen a sharp increase in the past 27 years and that many of these deaths were preventable.
When a person develops chronic kidney disease (CKD), their kidneys slowly stop functioning over months or years. Usually, the kidneys filter excess fluid and waste from the blood, as the kidneys fail, these fluids accumulate.
There are no symptoms of CKD in the early stages, but if a person does not receive treatment, CKD will progress to end stage kidney disease; this requires dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant.
Scientists have estimated that 14% of the United States population has CKD.
People with kidney disease are also at a much higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, which is the most common cause of death in people with CKD. Cardiovascular disease death rates in people undergoing dialysis are 10–20 times greater than in the general population.
High blood pressure or diabetes commonly causes CKD, but it can also develop because of HIV infection or exposure to toxins or heavy metals. Sometimes, the primary cause of a person’s CKD remains unknown.
There is no cure for CKD, although lifestyle changes can help prevent the condition from getting worse. People in later stages of the disease need expensive renal replacement therapy, for example, kidney dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive.