Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also called chronic kidney failure, describes the gradual and irreversible loss of kidney function over a period of more than 3 months.
The most important causes for developing CKD are diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure. Both causes are becoming more common in the general population. This disorder is becoming an epidemic with significant impact on quality of life and costs for healthcare.
CKD is reaching epidemic proportions, affecting, in all its five stages, approximately 10 % of the adult population worldwide. One out of three adults is at risk for developing CKD due to risk factors, such as diabetes mellitus and hypertension.
The main task of the kidneys is to filter the blood and eliminate metabolites and toxins through the excretion of urine. Other important functions include: the maintenance of water-, electrolyte-, and acid-base balance, blood pressure control, as well as the formation, activation, and deactivation of important hormones, proteins and vitamins.
The kidneys fulfill vital functions:
- eliminate wastes, toxins and excess fluids via urine
- retain important nutrients
- maintain the overall fluid balance
- regulate mineral metabolism
- create hormones to help produce red blood cells
- promote bone health
- regulate blood pressure