• More than 20 million Americans have chronic kidney disease (CKD) and 26 million more are at an increased risk of getting it.
  • 1 in 10 American adults have CKD.
  • Alabama ranks 5th in the nation for kidney disease occurrence.
  • In 2013, more than 47,000 Americans died of kidney disease.
  • More than 661,000 Americans suffer from CKD.  Of these, 468,000 need an artificial kidney machine (dialysis), and approximately 193,000 live with a functioning kidney transplant.
  • Due to an organ shortage, more than 100,000 patients are currently waiting for a kidney transplant.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of chronic kidney failure, accounting for 44% of the new cases each year and 35% of all cases in the U.S.
  • Uncontrolled or poorly controlled high blood pressure is the 2nd leading cause of CKD in the U.S. accounting for about 23% of U.S. cases.

Kidney Disease Information

What do Kidneys Do Anyway?

Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, about the size of your fist, located along your back, just below your ribs.

They are sophisticated machines that you cannot live without. They process nearly 200 quarts of blood every day and sift out about 2 quarts of waste products and extra water, which become urine.

Here is a fun video about kidney disease put together by UAB: UAB Kidney Rap

Warning Signs

The following are warning signs of kidney disease:

  • High blood pressure
  • Fluid retention
  • Frequent urination
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache & Fatigue
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Dry & itchy skin

Early Detection

Early detection is important and regular health screenings are essential in detecting and preventing kidney disease.  Any primary care physician can administer urine and/or blood tests to test kidney function, and check for risk factors such as high blood pressure (also called hypertension), diabetes, cholesterol, and obesity.


The primary treatment of chronic kidney disease is either dialysis or kidney transplant. Dialysis is a machine process that does the kidneys’ job of filtering waste products from the blood. The other option is a kidney transplant, where a human kidney is surgically implanted into the patient.


The best prevention of kidney disease is to eat well, exercise and get regular health screenings. If kidney disease is detected early, medical intervention can slow the progression of it to chronic kidney disease (CKD) and kidney failure. Healthy kidneys are vital for life, so take good care of yourself and your kidneys by exercising, eating right, and seeking proper healthcare!

Leading Causes of Kidney Disease

  • Diabetes (sometimes called “sugar”).
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure).
  • Other genetic factors, such as polycystic kidney disease.

Risk Factors

Those at a higher risk of developing kidney disease are African-American males, the elderly and those with family history of kidney disease.

Are you at risk?

  1. Do you have a family history of kidney disease?
  2. Do you have diabetes?
  3. Do you have high blood pressure?
  4. Are you an African-American, particularly male, between the ages of 30-35?
  5. Do you have a personal history of obesity, cardiovascular disease, HIV, Hepatitis C, or malignancy?