What is Kidney Disease?

Understanding your kidneys is the first step to taking control of your health when you have chronic kidney disease (CKD).

The kidney's main functions are to:

  • Clean and filter your blood
  • Remove extra fluid and make urine
  • Balance chemicals and fluids
  • Produce hormones that help control blood pressure, make red blood cells, and ensure bone health

In addition to their filtration function, the kidneys produce hormones—chemicals that act as the body’s messengers. These hormones help control blood pressure, control red blood cell production, and keep your bones strong.

Two healthy kidneys are more than enough to filter waste from your blood and make urine.

If your kidneys are sick, they may have trouble:

  • Removing waste from your body
  • Removing extra fluid from your body
  • Keeping minerals and chemicals in balance
  • Making hormones properly

Inside each , about one million tiny units called nephrons rid the body of excess and unwanted substances. Each nephron has two parts, the glomerulus and the tubules.

Inside the glomerulus large amounts of fluid, dissolved substances such as minerals, and waste products are filtered from the blood and form a fluid called filtrate. From the glomerulus, this filtrate flows into the tubules. Inside the tubules, most of the water is re-absorbed into the blood, in addition to the required amounts of minerals and other substances your body needs.

At the same time, excess substankidneyces and fluid flow into the tubules and are eliminated as urine.

Common causes of CKD include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

For nearly two-thirds of people living with CKD, their kidney disease is caused by either diabetes or high blood pressure.

Contact your DaVita Kidney Care Teammate

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