Inside all kidneys are approximately one million microscopic nephrons, whose responsibility it is to filter blood throughout the kidneys, in order to ensure proper renal function. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) occurs when enough nephrons are damaged, or destroyed, to cause the kidneys to slowly stop performing normally; the kidneys follow a series of five stages, with each stage increasing in severity, until the kidneys become completely incapable of functioning. When this happens, the person afflicted may or may not show any symptoms, as loss of kidney function often takes months, or even years, to become noticeable. Sometimes severe damage is already caused by the time CKD is diagnosed. Because of this reason, understanding how to prevent CKD becomes vitally important.
Damage to the kidneys can occur from a number of reasons, but the leading causes of CKD are uncontrolled high blood pressure and blood sugar levels in the body. Thus, those with diabetes and high blood pressure are at much greater risk of developing CKD than are others. The best way to prevent CKD from occurring is to ensure blood pressure and blood sugar levels are always regulated. Because nephrons are damaged in multiple ways though, it is important to practice other healthy habits as well, such as regularly exercising, eating a healthy, low-fat, low-salt diet, and avoiding the use of tobacco and the excessive consumption of alcohol.