Kidney Disease

Frequently Asked Questions

4. What are the risk factors for kidney disease?

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading risk factors for kidney disease. Both diabetes and high blood pressure damage the small blood vessels in your kidneys and can cause kidney disease -- without you feeling it.

There are several other risk factors for kidney disease. Cardiovascular (heart) disease is a risk factor. So is family history: if you have a mother, father, sister, or brother who has had kidney disease, then you are at increased risk.

African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans tend to have a greater risk for kidney failure. This is mostly due to higher rates of diabetes and high blood pressure in these communities, although there may be other reasons.

(Watch the video to learn more about the connection between heart disease and kidney disease. To enlarge the video, click the brackets in the lower right-hand corner. To reduce the video, press the Escape (Esc) button on your keyboard.)