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Statistics: Who Gets Chronic Kidney Disease?

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: December 2022

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a long-term health condition that causes the kidneys to work less well over time. It can also lead to kidney failure, which is called end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). Kidney failure is the stage when kidney damage is severe and kidney function is very low.1,2

CKD is common in the United States. A major reason why is that high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease are also common. These diseases all damage the kidneys.1

To give you an idea of how damaging diabetes and high blood pressure are to the kidneys, consider this:3

  • 1 in 3 people with diabetes have CKD.
  • 1 in 5 people with high blood pressure have CKD.

How common is chronic kidney disease?

One in 7, or 37 million, adults in the United States live with CKD. That's 15 percent of the US population. This makes kidney disease one of the most common conditions our country faces. It is also a leading cause of death in the United States.2

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End-stage kidney disease is the final, most serious stage of the disease. In the United States, nearly 786,000 people are living with ESKD. Of these, 7 in 10 are on dialysis and 3 in 10 have had a kidney transplant.2

Who gets chronic kidney disease?

Certain people have a higher risk of developing CKD, including:2-4

  • People with diabetes
  • People with high blood pressure
  • Heavier people
  • People with heart disease
  • People with a family history of CKD
  • Black, Hispanic, and Asian people

Chronic kidney disease is also more common in older people. The percent of US adults with CKD by age range is:2

  • 65 and older: 38.1 percent
  • Ages 45 to 64: 12.4 percent
  • Ages 18 to 44: 6 percent

In children and teens, 2 conditions are the leading causes of ESKD. These 2 conditions are polycystic kidney disease and glomerulonephritis.2

People who have inherited kidney disorders or who have had accidents that damaged their kidneys may develop CKD as well.2

Other things to know about who gets kidney disease:2

  • 3 men develop ESKD for every 2 women.
  • 3 Black people develop ESKD for every 1 white person.
  • 3 out of 4 Hispanic people with CKD develop ESKD.

How expensive is it?

Chronic kidney disease is costly for consumers and the nation. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that CKD treatment costs more than $87 billion in Medicare payouts every year.3

More than 360 people per day begin dialysis or get a kidney transplant because their kidneys have failed. This is the most expensive stage of kidney disease, costing Medicare $37 billion per year.3

Know your kidney health

The CDC estimates that up to 9 out of 10 people with CKD do not know their health is in danger. Even more worrisome, 2 out of 5 people with severe CKD do not know they have it.2

The good news is that you can lower your risk of kidney failure by doing the following.2

  • Educate yourself about CKD and ways to protect what kidney function you have.
  • Monitor and treat your high blood sugar and high blood pressure.
  • Get the help of a dietitian who specializes in kidney healthy diets.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Avoid chemicals that can harm the kidneys, such as:
    • Over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen and naproxen (NSAIDs)
    • Certain antibiotics
    • Certain herbal supplements
    • Too much alcohol

Talk to your doctor about the many things you can do to protect your kidneys from further damage. Together, you can come up with a plan that works for your lifestyle.