Kidney disease is a term used to describe any abnormality of the kidneys, even if there is only very slight damage. ‘Chronic’ means a condition that does not get completely better and lasts over a long time. Chronic does not mean ‘severe’.

Around 1 in 10 of the population may have CKD.
In those aged over 75 years, CKD is present in 1 out of 2 people, mainly due to the normal ageing of their kidneys.

In most cases CKD does not cause any symptoms, and is detected because tests are abnormal. These may be urine tests or a blood test or scan of the kidneys.


There are many causes of CKD, the commonest causes include diabetes, high blood pressure and ageing of the kidneys.


There are some things that everyone with CKD should try to do. These are:

  • Lose weight (if overweight) and exercise regularly
  • Stop smoking
  • Reduce the amount of salt in the diet in order to help control the blood pressure. 
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet.
  • Consider buying an automatic blood pressure monitor to check the blood pressure at home.
  • Stay up-to-date with National vaccinations, including an annual ‘flu jab’
  • Avoid medications which can harm the kidney and increase blood pressure, such as anti-inflammatory medications (eg. Ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac), herbal medications, recreational drugs.


Depending on the stage of your CKD depends on how often you should be monitored.

At a minimum, kidney function should be checked annually (in some CKD stages it is checked 4 or 6 monthly), with an annual additional blood test to check for anaemia, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Everyone with CKD should have a urine test at least annually to measure the amount of protein in the urine.

Blood pressure should be monitored and treated carefully with the aim of 140/90 or lower if you have protein in your urine or have diabetes. Factors that worsen leak of protein in urine include poorly controlled blood pressure, weight gain and poorly controlled diabetes.


CKD does not cause diabetes, but CKD can be a complication of diabetes. If someone with CKD also has diabetes, extra care to control the blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels is required. More intensive monitoring will be performed, including extra urine tests to look for protein in the urine, as poorly controlled diabetes can make kidneys fail faster.