patient stories
Jeremy
Peritoneal dialysis at
home using Amia
see his story

Dale
A Canada-wide cycling
trip with dialysis
see his story

Jaya
Coping with CKD
thanks to home dialysis
see her story

What is chronic kidney disease (CKD)/chronic renal failure?
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition where your kidneys gradually lose their ability to function correctly. Although CKD is irreversible, it is treatable.
SUMMARY:
What do
kidneys do?

The kidneys play an important role in your health. Human beings are born with two kidneys, one on each side of the backbone just below the rib cage. Shaped like kidney beans, each kidney is about the size of a small fist and weighs about a quarter of a pound, or 114 grams.

All you need to stay off treatments is one kidney that works at a minimum of 20%.

NORMAL HEALTHY KIDNEYS…

Clean your blood
and remove extra fluid to form urine
Keep minerals (sodium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus) in balance
Help to control blood pressure
Help to make red blood cells
Produce vitamin D to keep bones healthy
What happens when kidneys slow down or stop working?

When your kidneys don’t work properly, you may develop kidney failure. Most kidney diseases affect the nephrons, which are the tiny filters inside the kidneys that clean the blood. When this happens, harmful wastes and fluids can build up in your body and affect the body’s balance.

Types of kidney disease
Chronic kidney failure

is the gradual loss of kidney function that results from a long-term disease. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the more common type of kidney failure. Although CKD cannot be reversed, it can be treated.

Acute kidney failure

is a sudden loss of kidney function resulting from an injury, disease, contrast dye or blood poisoning. Acute kidney failure can usually be reversed within a few weeks if treated quickly.

End-stage renal disease (ESRD)

is a condition where the kidneys do not work, or where only very little kidney function is left.

What causes the kidneys to stop working?

Kidney failure can be caused by a number of diseases or conditions.

diabetes
high blood pressure
lupus
polycystic kidney disease
glomerulonephritis
injury or trauma
Symptoms you can feel when your kidneys aren’t working properly

Symptoms of kidney failure and chronic kidney disease can vary from person to person. Kidney disease is sometimes called a “silent” disease because some people may not feel sick or may not notice their symptoms until their kidneys are no longer removing waste and fluids (urine).

As the disease gets worse and kidney function slows down, most people experience symptoms of uremia. Uremia means too much urea in the blood.

Symptoms of uremia include:
Feeling tired and/or weak
Swelling of the hands and feet
Shortness of breath
You may also experience…
Loss of appetite
Bad taste in your mouth
Nausea or vomiting
Difficulty sleeping
Itching
Muscle cramps
Weight loss
Darkening of the skin