Chronic Kidney Disease Prevention (CKD)

Your kidneys filter all the blood in your body, removing wastes, toxins, and excess fluid. They also help control blood pressure, stimulate production of red blood cells, keep your bones healthy, and regulate blood chemicals that are essential to life.

1 in 7 U.S. adults have CKD, and 9 out of 10 do not know they have it.  Visit thCDC website to learn more about CKD in the United States.   

About Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a condition where the kidneys cannot filter blood as they should. They slowly lose their ability to filter wastes, fluids, and electrolytes from the body. This causes excess fluid and waste to remain in the body which can cause other health conditions such as:   

  • Heart disease

  • Stroke

  • Anemia or low number of red blood cells

  • Increased occurrence of infections

  • Low calcium levels, high potassium levels, and high phosphorus levels in the blood which may lead to bone and vascular disease

  • Loss of appetite or eating less

  • Depression or lower quality of life

There are 5 stages of CKD, with stage 1 being the least severe and stage 5 being the most severe. The 5th stage is known as kidney failure or end-stage renal disease. As the stages increase, your kidneys function less and CKD worsens.

Causes and Risk Factors

CKD refers to the gradual worsening of kidney function over time. In the United States, two of the main risk factors for CKD include diabetes and high blood pressure. Other risk factors include: 

  • Family history of kidney disease

  • Heart disease

  • Obesity

  • Older age

  • Excessive use of certain medications (this list may not have all medications listed)

    • *Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Naproxen (Naprosyn). These may also lower the effectiveness of some blood pressure medications

    • *Sodium phosphorus solutions (Fleets enemas or fleets oral cathartics or cleaning)

    • *Magnesium citrate (MagCitrate) including PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors) or Acid reflux medicines 

    • *Pseudoephedrine (decongestant)

    • *Certain antibiotics

    • * Certain vitamins

    • * Certain herbal supplements

    • *Dyes that are used to make the blood vessels or organs visible on X-rays or other imaging tests

*Always check with your medical provider or the pharmacist before taking any over the counter medication (OTC).

*Always use medication exactly as written or as on the label.

*Always use medication at the lowest dose possible.

*Always use medication for the shortest period of time.


Most people show few symptoms until the later stages of CKD.

  • Stage 1-3: Typically no symptoms are noticeable

  • Stage 4-5: Tiredness, itchiness, swelling in the hands and feet, muscle cramps, nausea, loss of appetite, urinating more or less than normal, trouble breathing, trouble sleeping

Preventive Measures

If you have any of the CKD risk factors, talk to your healthcare provider about your kidney health and other steps at your next visit. 

The estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) is a blood test that measures how well the kidneys are functioning. eGFR testing helps determine if you have CKD and what stage you are in.  In addition, your urine can be checked for protein losses which are one of the earliest signs of kidney disease.

Steps you can take on your own to prevent CKD are:

  • Control blood pressure

  • Prevent and manage diabetes, keep blood sugar at recommended levels

  • Stop smoking

  • Maintain a healthy weight

  • Get your urine tested

  • Take the medicines prescribed by your medical provider that have proven to slow kidney disease


Early detection and management of kidney disease can slow or delay the need for end stage treatments. 

  • Early detection and treatment are the goals of therapy 

  • For patients with early-stage, stage 1-3, treatments often focus on lifestyle change and managing related conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure

  • For more advanced kidney disease, stage 4, treating anemia and electrolyte disorders, which are often the result of kidney disease, is often required

  • For kidney failure, stage 5, dialysis or transplant is necessary 

    • Dialysis is when a machine filters your blood for you and can be done at a dialysis center or at home

    • A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure where a healthy kidney is placed in your body

    • Kidney transplantation offers an even better option for most patients who are eligible. Your kidney doctor can help you determine the best option for you

For more information on kidney health and chronic kidney disease visit the CDC website,

For more information on end-stage renal disease and the Maryland Kidney Disease Program visit,

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