0 Million
Americans Have Chronic Kidney Disease
Americans are on Dialysis or Living with a Kidney Transplant
Adults with Kidney Disease in America Who Don’t Know They Have It
Kidney Disease Remains the Ninth Leading Cause of Death in the US

What is Kidney Disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) occurs when kidneys are damaged and are less efficient at doing their job. CKD is called a “silent killer” because there are few symptoms, and by the time people realize they have a problem, much damage has already been done. High blood pressure and diabetes are the two leading causes of CKD. Heart disease, family history of CKD and obesity are other risk factors.

Computer generated image of kidney cross section showing the kidney interior with renal arteries and veins, with anatomy labels on a white background.

Role of Kidneys

Most people are born with two kidneys, which are each about the size of a closed fist. They are located in the middle back above the waist, with one on each side of the spine.

Kidneys serve an important role, as they are responsible for:

  • cleaning the blood by removing toxins from the body

  • producing urine

  • regulating blood pressure

  • balancing fluids, minerals and chemicals in the body

  • signaling the bones to make red blood cells

Kidney Failure

Kidney failure—also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD)—is when kidneys are no longer able to do their job and the individual must either receive dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant in order to survive.

Treatment Options

How Can I Help?