Who is at Risk for Kidney Disease?

risk factors for kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is unfortunately a common problem—as many as 1 in 3 adults are at risk of developing it. If someone knows they are at higher risk, they can be tested for it more regularly.

If at-risk individuals are getting tested often, the chances of finding CKD receiving kidney disease treatment at an earlier stage increase significantly. Here are some of the contributing factors that make developing kidney disease more common:


Those with diabetes make up one of the highest at-risk groups. Diabetes causes high blood sugar levels, and this blood sugar damages the blood vessels and filters within the kidneys. This damage leads to early stages of kidney damage and chronic kidney disease. 

To reduce the risk of CKD, those with diabetes should adapt their lifestyle and make healthy changes. Suggested changes include eating a healthy, balanced diet, keeping blood sugar levels down to a normal rate, monitoring and keeping blood pressure down, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is the second-highest cause of chronic kidney disease after diabetes. High blood pressure is a risk factor of CKD is due to blood pressure damaging blood vessels throughout the body.

Damages caused by high blood pressure can result in a lack of blood being supplied to vital organs of the body, including the kidneys. When the kidneys become damaged, they become less efficient or even stop removing waste products.


A susceptibility to chronic kidney disease can be genetic. Genes passed to children from parents can put you more at risk of getting CKD, so if family members have previously suffered from this condition or related health complications, that’s a signal to be wary.

If you are at risk due to family history, you should get tested regularly. Informing your doctor of this history and receiving regular tests can help you be proactive about this risk and catch it early if you do develop CKD. This information about your family history can also help your doctor remain on the lookout for related health conditions.


As people get older, the risk of developing CKD increases. Individuals over the age of 60 are at a much higher risk of developing CKD than other populations. As we age, the kidneys naturally slow down and will not work as well.

Those over 60 years of age are also more at risk of high blood pressure and diabetes, which are leading contributors of chronic kidney disease, as mentioned above.


Those with African American, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian American backgrounds are more at risk of getting chronic kidney disease. Doctors and researchers are not sure why this is; however, it may be related to the higher rates of diabetes and high blood pressure among these races and ethnicities.

Are You at Risk for Chronic Kidney Disease?

If one or several  of the previous conditions or demographics apply to you, you may have a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease.

If you are at risk, remember that you can lower the chance of developing CKD through effectively changing your lifestyle. In doing so, you can keep your body healthy to give it the highest chance of preventing CKD and combatting these issues as they arise.