how do my kidney work

Causes or risk factors of chronic kidney disease (CKD)

Most kidney diseases attack the nephrons, causing them to lose their filtering capacity. Damage to the nephrons may sometimes happen quickly, for example as the result of an injury or poisoning. But most kidney diseases destroy the nephrons slowly and silently (chronic kidney disease). Only after years or even decades does the damage become apparent. Most kidney diseases attack both kidneys simultaneously.

If your family has a history of any kind of kidney problems, you may be at risk for kidney disease. 

The most common causes (or risk factors)
of chronic kidney disease are:1


  • Diabetes mellitus,
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Inflammations of the glomerulus (glomerulonephritis)
  • Hereditary diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease.


  1. Jameson, Fauci et al.: Harrison´s Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Edition,  McGraw Hill 2018