Some people get chronic kidney disease (CKD) because of genetics, and some develop CKD as a result of other medical complications. Autoimmune diseases, birth defects, and other problems can also cause kidney disease.

The most common conditions that lead to chronic kidney disease are:


Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney disease, responsible for about 40 percent of all kidney failure. Although diabetes can cause damage to the filters in your kidneys over time and is a risk factor for kidney disease, that doesn’t necessarily mean your kidneys will fail. An early diagnosis of diabetes can get you on a proper treatment program so your kidneys can continue to work effectively for a long time.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

High blood pressure is the second leading cause of chronic kidney disease, responsible for about 25 percent of all cases. This is because high blood pressure places added strain on the tiny blood vessels of the kidneys, potentially damaging them and leading to CKD. By keeping blood pressure under control and living a healthy lifestyle, you can help protect your kidneys.

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

Some kidneys develop cysts that fill with fluid and change the size of the kidneys, interfering with healthy kidney functions and eventually leading to kidney failure. This condition is known as polycystic kidney disease (PKD), and it typically runs in families. Although it is commonly believed to equally affect men and women of all races, some studies have shown that the disease may occur more often in Caucasians than in African Americans and in females more often than males.

Genetics also play a role in kidney disease. African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and Asian Americans have an increased risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, the two leading causes of CKD. It’s important to have your doctor check your kidney function on a regular basis if you are at high risk of CKD. There are many ways to help control the complications that cause it, and being more kidney-minded can help maintain function and slow the progression of chronic kidney disease.