What is chronic kidney disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a term for the gradual loss of kidney function. It is called “chronic” because damage to your kidneys happens slowly over a long period of time. This damage can make it hard for your kidneys to do all their important jobs, including removing waste and fluid from your blood. When your kidneys don’t work as they should, waste can build up in your blood and make you sick.

What causes CKD?

Diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are among the most common causes of CKD. It can develop at any age, but those over 60 are at higher risk.

What are the symptoms?

CKD often develops slowly. Many people don’t realize they have it until it’s advanced and requires medical treatment. When this happens, you may urinate more often or less often than usual, feel tired, have loss of appetite, or have trouble sleeping among other symptoms.

Are you in the 33%?

33% of adults in the U.S. are at risk for kidney disease. The National Kidney Foundation created an online quiz that you can take to find out if you are at high risk for CKD.

Take the quiz

How to lower your risk for CKD

If you have diabetes or hypertension, ask your doctor if you’re at risk of developing CKD. You should get tested for kidney disease every year. Your doctor will do blood and urine tests to check how well your kidneys filter creatinine from your blood. Too much creatinine in your blood is a sign of kidney failure.

What you can do to live well with CKD

There isn’t a cure for kidney disease, but you can keep it from getting worse by:

  • Keeping your blood pressure under control (below 130/80)
  • Telling your doctor what nonprescription medicines you’re taking, such as herbal supplements and vitamins
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Reducing long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen)
  • Quitting tobacco. Enter the term "tobacco" in the search below to find tools and support to help you quit.

Priority Health care managers are here to help.

Our care management team can provide support to help you manage chronic kidney disease, diabetes and hypertension. A care manager can help make sure you’re getting the best care possible by:

  • Connecting you with resources to help you be your healthiest
  • Finding an in-network doctor or specialist
  • Guiding you through the healthcare system
  • Providing education on ways to manage CKD, diabetes and hypertension

To learn more or get started with a care manager, please call Customer Service at 888.975.8102.