A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition. Being age 65 or older increases your risk for kidney disease. Other risk factors include:


Diabetes is the most common cause of chronic kidney disease. It occurs when the body doesn’t process the sugar in the blood well. The amount of blood sugar—also called blood glucose—increases. High blood glucose damages the kidneys, as well as the heart, blood vessels, and eyes. The two most common types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2 .


Hypertension , also known as high blood pressure, is the second most common cause of chronic kidney disease. It occurs when there is high pressure within the arteries of the body. Hypertension damages the kidneys. Chronic kidney disease can also cause hypertension.

Family History

Inherited disease, such as polycystic kidney disease , which causes cysts to form in the kidneys, can lead to chronic kidney disease. There is a strong genetic influence in type 2 diabetes patients who later develop renal failure. A person whose mother, father, sister, or brother ever had kidney failure is more likely to develop chronic kidney disease.


Chronic kidney disease is more common among certain ethnic groups, including:

  • African Americans
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Asian or Pacific Islanders
  • American Indians

These groups are more likely to get chronic kidney disease because they are more likely to get diseases that lead to chronic kidney disease. Type 2 diabetes is more common among the populations listed than other people. African Americans are more likely to get hypertension than people of other ethnic groups.

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