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Increase Risks For Low Functioning Kidneys
Article posted in: Kidney Health

Low kidney function

Low kidney function has become a progressing issue in American health but why? What does it mean to have low kidney function, and who is most at risk? 

Low kidney function can be caused by previously existing health conditions, genetics, diet, age, and race. If not properly addressed or made aware of the issues above you could increase your chance of developing low kidney function or worsening your kidneys function. This article will help you identify risk factors for low functioning kidneys by presenting statistics and demographics from patients with low kidney function. 

The Statistics 

As we examine these statistics we can see that low kidney function is on the rise, as it’s the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. Part of this problem can be attributed to a lack of early detection and awareness. In the past year, the US government has taken action towards this rising cause of death by allocating money to early detection and better ways to manage low kidney function. 

  1. 15% of US adults—37 million people—are estimated to have CKD.*(1)
  2. Most (9 in 10) adults with CKD do not know they have it. (1)
  3. 1 in 2 people with very low kidney function who are not on dialysis do not know they have CKD. (1)
  4. Kidney diseases are the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. (2)
  5. In the United States, diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading cause of kidney failure, representing about 3 out of 4 new cases. (2)

The Demographics 

The demographics

Those who have a family heritage that is non- Hispanic black are at the greatest risk for developing low functioning kidneys. We can also tell that women are more likely to have low kidney function. If you are both a woman, non-Hispanic black and older than the age of 65 you should discuss with your health care provider about your risk of low kidney function based on genetics and age and a plan to monitor your kidney function. 

  1.  CKD is more common in people aged 65 years or older (38%) than in people aged 45–64 years (13%) or 18–44 years (7%). (1)
  2. CKD is more common in women (15%) than men (12%). (1)
  3. CKD is more common in non-Hispanic blacks (16%) than in non-Hispanic whites (13%) or non-Hispanic Asians (12%). (1)
  4. About 14% of Hispanics have CKD. (1)

Risk Factors (3)

The risk factors

If any of these risk factors match your personal profile or family history you should discuss with your healthcare provider about your risk of developing low functioning kidneys. 

  1. Uncontrolled blood sugar 
  2. High blood pressure
  3. Heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) problems
  4. Smoking
  5. Obesity
  6. Being African-American, Native American or Asian-American
  7. Family history of kidney disease
  8. Abnormal kidney structure
  9. Older age

The Take-Away

If you think you may be at risk for low kidney function you should consult your doctor to discuss the possibility. If you already have low functioning kidneys speak to your doctor about how these factors and statistics play into your method of care and how you help maintain your current kidney function. 

Remember, always consult with your healthcare practitioner to see if you have any of these risk factors.

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Temple University Graduate aiming to provide meaningful and useful content to those searching for information regarding their health. “It matters to me how my work affects others, and I am happy to be apart of something so wonderful”. 

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  1. Center for Disease Control. (2019, March 11). Chronic Kidney Disease in the United States, 2019. Retrieved April 30, 2020, from
  2. Center for Disease Control. (2020, February 07). Chronic Kidney Disease Basics. Retrieved April 30, 2020, from 
  3. Mayo Clinic. (2019, August 15). Chronic kidney disease. Retrieved April 30, 2020, from 

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