Chronic kidney disease happens when your kidneys no longer filter your blood the way they should, so wastes and extra fluids accumulate in your body.

The two main causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure, which are responsible for up to two-thirds of the cases.

Other conditions that affect the kidneys are:

  • Glomerulonephritis: a disease that causes inflammation and damage to the kidney's filtering units. This disorder is the third most common type of kidney disease.
  • Inherited diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease, which causes large cysts to form in the kidneys and damage the surrounding tissue.
  • Malformations that occur as a baby develops in its mother's womb. For example, a narrowing may occur that prevents normal outflow of urine and causes urine to flow back up to the kidney. This causes infections and may damage the kidneys.
  • Autoimmune diseases such as lupus
  • Obstructions caused by problems like kidney stones, tumors or an enlarged prostate gland in men.
  • Repeated urinary infections.

Most people may not have any severe symptoms until their kidney disease is advanced. However, you may notice that you:

  • feel more tired and have less energy
  • have trouble concentrating
  • have a poor appetite
  • have trouble sleeping
  • have dry, itchy skin
  • have swollen feet and ankles
  • have puffiness around your eyes, especially in the morning
  • have muscle cramping at night
  • need to urinate more often, especially at night.

Chronic kidney disease comes in five stages.

Stage 5 also known as kidney failure or end stage renal disease (ESRD) is when kidneys function below 10-15% of their normal capacity.

Kidney failure usually occurs after years of having chronic kidney disease. Less common is acute kidney failure, a sudden stop of kidney function usually seen in critically ill hospitalized patients.

Whichever the case may be, it is vital that a person with kidney failure receives a kidney replacement therapy to stay alive.

When it comes to treating end stage renal disease, the treatment is dialysis unless your doctor thinks you are a good candidate for a kidney transplant.

Still you will need dialysis while waiting for a matching kidney donor. Dialysis keeps your body in balance by removing waste, salt and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body and helping to control blood pressure.

There are two major dialysis choices that can suit your lifestyle and underlying medical conditions: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.