Patient Education by Southwest Virginia Nephrology Medicine, PC  


What are the Risk Factors Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) has common risk factors including:

  • Diabetes (see below),
  • Hypertension (see below),
  • Family History of chronic kidney disease,
  • Hereditary kidney disease,
  • Older Age,
  • Obesity,
  • Smoking,
  • Non healthy diet,
  • Physical inactivity, and
  • Low birthweight

Who is most at risk? Everyone with the above, but also those from ethnic backgrounds. Major risk factors associated with CKD that cannot be modified including; family history, previous kidney disease or injury, advancing age, genetic predisposition, low birth weight, and male gender.

What is Hypertension or High Blood Pressure?

Hypertension is an elevated blood pressure in the arteries. To circulate blood through the body, the heart contracts pushing blood through the arteries and capillaries to the veins. The pressure within the arteries is measured as the blood pressure reading. Readings may vary from person to person and throughout the day.

Staging of Hypertension – Hypertension can be staged by the severity of the recording. The higher the stage, the greater the risk for a major cardiovascular event including renal failure (Blood pressure reading below Systolic/Diastolic)

  • Normal:  < 120/<80
  • Pre-hypertension:  120-139/80-89
  • Hypertension – Stage 1: 140-159/90-99
  • Hypertension – Stage 2: 160-179/100-109
  • Hypertension – Stage 3: 180/110 or more
  • Hypertensive Urgency:  >220/120 with new organ damage
  • Malignant Hypertension: >220/120 with new organ damage

The longer the blood pressure is elevated and the higher it is staged, the more medications it will take to control it. The first value (top number) measures pressure in the arteries while the heart muscle is contracting (systolic pressure). The second value (lower number) measures pressure while the heart is resting between beats (diastolic pressure).

Complications – High blood pressure often has no physical symptoms. It can be a silent killer, damaging the body’s vital organs – the heart, brain and kidney – before damage is diagnosed. High blood pressure can lead directly to a heart attack, stroke (brain damage), eye damage, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease. Have your blood pressure checked regularly by your primary care provider, at least once a year.

Causes of High Blood Pressure – In most adults there is no one identifiable cause. It cannot be cured, but it can be controlled.

Factors increase risk: Family history, African American, age (more susceptible as you get older), overweight, sleep apnea, high salt diet, alcohol, lack of exercise and stress.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a leading cause of CKD and can cause multiple various types of chronic kidney disease:

  • Filtration Failure – leading to reduced clearance
  • Filter Damage – leading to proteinuria, staged
  • Tubular Damage – leading to hyporeninemic hypoaldosteronism
  • Vascular Disease – ischemic nephropathy
  • Obstructive (Post-Renal Failure) – Bladder Atony

With high levels of blood sugar, as in diabetes, the small blood vessels in the kidneys become damaged and can no longer clean the blood properly. Over a period of time:

  • The kidneys start to leak and useful proteins are emptied in the urine.
  • The body retains more water and salt than it should resulting in weight gain and ankle swelling.
  • Nerve damage can cause difficulty emptying the bladder developing bacteria in the urine.

Keeping tight control of your blood glucose and blood pressure are critical. Follow your provider’s recommendations on medications and diet. Have regular checkups to monitor your diabetes. Kidney disease cannot be reversed, but it can be controlled.

Are You at Risk for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?
If you suffer from high blood pressure or diabetes and/or have a risk factor to have chronic kidney disease and need a Nephrologist, please call Southwest Virginia Nephrology Medicine in Roanoke, Virginia at (540) 904.5366 or complete the contact us form (click here). We provide specialized Nephrology services in Virginia and West Virginia, including Roanoke, Salem, Franklin County and Botetourt County.