What Causes CKD?
Diabetes is the leading cause of CKD. In diabetes, your body is either unable to make insulin or to use it properly to admit glucose into cells. Diabetes causes high blood sugar levels, which, if uncontrolled, damage blood vessels throughout your body—including the tiny capillaries that fill your kidneys.
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
Hypertension (high blood pressure
) is the second leading cause of kidney failure in the US. It can cause CKD by damaging the fragile capillaries in the kidneys, causing them to thicken, stiffen, and lose their ability to filter blood. It can also damage the arteries that bring blood to the kidneys, slowing down or blocking blood flow.
The third leading cause of CKD in the US, glomerulonephritis (also called nephritis) is inflammation of the glomeruli, the filtering units of the kidneys. The inflammation often starts with an acute phase and then becomes chronic, impeding the kidneys’ ability to filter blood. Most often the cause of the disease is unknown.
Cystic Kidney Disease
Cysts (soft, fluid-filled sacs) form in the kidneys, growing larger over time. They also form in other organs, including the liver and pancreas. They replace healthy kidney tissue and may lead to kidney failure. They can weigh more than 20 lbs at the end of the process. Cystic kidney disease
is a genetic disorder.
Obstructions of the Urinary Tract
The urinary tract can be blocked in the ureter, bladder, or urethra by kidney stones, enlarged prostate, or prostate cancer
. The blockage causes urine to back up into the kidney, damaging it. Damage can occur even when the blockage is only partial.
Urinary Tract Infections
Infections in the bladder can spread into the urinary tract and from there penetrate into the kidney. They can be intensely painful. Recurrent infections may cause scarring of the kidney tissue and loss of kidney function.