Types of kidney diseases

Your kidneys are vital organs that filter fluid and waste out of your blood, and you cannot live without them. Diseases that lower your kidney's ability to clean your blood can affect only the kidneys, or harm other parts of your body too. These health conditions can cause chronic kidney disease or kidney failure.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) includes a variety of conditions that impact your kidneys' ability to filter waste and fluid out of your blood. Each type of kidney disease affects the kidneys and the body in different ways. The diagnosis, treatment, and management of kidney disease can vary greatly depending on the specific condition. 

aHUS (atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome)

aHUS (atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome) is a very rare genetic disease that causes tiny blood clots to form in your blood vessels, blocking blood flow to important organs. aHUS can cause kidney failure, heart disease and other serious health problems. While there is no known cure for aHUS, it can be treated.

Alport syndrome

Alport syndrome is a genetic condition that can cause problems in the kidneys, ears, and eyes, often leading to kidney disease. It primarily appears through blood in urine, progressing to chronic kidney disease and potentially leading to kidney failure, more frequently in men. While there is no cure, treatments like ACE inhibitors and ARBs can prolong kidney function, and kidney transplant is an effective option in cases of kidney failure.


Amyloidosis is a condition where abnormal proteins called amyloids build up in organs and tissues, often affecting the kidneys, heart, brain, liver, and intestines. It mainly comes in two forms affecting the kidneys: primary amyloidosis, with an unknown cause, and dialysis-related amyloidosis, which occurs in long-term dialysis patients. Treatments range from chemotherapy and stem cell transplants for primary amyloidosis to improved dialysis methods and kidney transplants for dialysis-related amyloidosis. 

APOL1-Mediated Kidney Disease

Learn about a genetic variation in the APOL1 gene which can increase the chance of kidney disease among people who have Western and Central African ancestry, this can include people who identify as Black, African American, Afro-Caribbean, and/or Latina/Latino. 

Cardiovascular-kidney-metabolic (CKM) syndrome

Learn about cardiovascular-kidney-metabolic (CKM) syndrome, its risk factors and the connection between heart disease, kidney disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Complement 3 glomerulopathy (C3G)

C3 glomerulopathy (glo-mer-u-lop-a-thy) is a disease that affects how well your kidneys work. It causes damage to structures in the kidneys called glomeruli (glo-mer-yuh-lahy) Glomeruli help the kidneys filter toxins out of your blood.


Cystinosis is a rare disorder that allows a natural chemical called cystine to build up in your body and cause health problems. Kidney damage from cystinosis can cause kidney failure. People with cystinosis must take medicine to lower their cystine levels and may need a kidney transplant. Cystinosis is genetic (runs in families) and is most often diagnosed in young babies.

Fabry disease

Fabry disease is a rare genetic disorder that can be passed down from parent to child. It runs in families, so several members of the same family often have it. Current estimates report that Fabry disease is found in roughly 1 in 40,000 males and 1 in 20,000 females.

Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS)

Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a rare type of kidney disease that causes scarring in the filters of the kidneys. FSGS can make it hard for your kidneys to filter waste, which can lead to kidney failure, also called end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or end-stage kidney disease (ESKD).

Glomerulonephritis (Glomerular Disease)

Your kidneys contain more than a million glomeruli (gluh-MER-you-lie), which are tiny filters that remove waste and fluid from your blood. If anything damages your glomeruli, which is called glomerulonephritis (gluh-mer-you-low-ne-FRY-tis), they cannot do this job as well. If not treated, glomerulonephritis can lead to serious kidney problems, including kidney failure.

Goodpasture syndrome  

Goodpasture syndrome is a rare condition that affects the lungs and kidneys, causing symptoms like coughing, breathlessness, and blood in the urine. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks these organs, potentially leading to chronic kidney disease or lung damage. Treatment often includes immunosuppressants and plasmapheresis (plaz-muh-fuh-REE-sis), and in severe cases, dialysis or kidney transplant may be required.  

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA)

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis is a rare disease of the blood vessels that can damage your lungs, kidneys and other parts of your body by lowering the amount of blood that can flow to them. It can get worse quickly and it is important to treat it early to prevent permanent organ damage, such as kidney failure.

Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) 

Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a condition where red blood cells are destroyed, leading to blocked kidney filters, often triggered by an E. coli infection, other bacteria, and viruses, certain medicines, or genetic factors. It typically presents suddenly in children. Treatment is crucial, and HUS prevention includes maintaining hygiene and safely handling food to reduce E. coli infection risks.

Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP) 

Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP) is a condition that causes inflammation in small blood vessels, leading to a noticeable skin rash, stomach pain, and arthritis, primarily affecting children. While there is no cure, treatments focus on symptom relief, and most people recover completely, although it can occasionally lead to chronic kidney issues.  

IgA nephropathy

IgA nephropathy is a rare disease that causes kidney damage when your own immune system produces antibodies in your kidneys. This then triggers harmful inflammation in your kidneys. Inflammation is the body's natural response to injury and infection. This process lowers your kidneys' ability to filter waste and fluid from your blood. There is no cure for IgA nephropathy, but treatments can slow the damage to your kidneys.

Interstitial nephritis

Interstitial nephritis is a kidney disease that lowers your kidneys' ability to clean your blood and make urine (pee). Usually it is caused by a reaction to a medicine you take and stopping that medicine solves the problem.

Lupus nephritis

Lupus is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases cause your immune system to attack your healthy cells. Lupus can affect many parts of the body. When your immune system attacks your kidneys, it is called lupus nephritis.

Minimal change disease

Minimal change disease (MCD) is a condition that damages the tiny blood vessels in your kidneys, which can affect how well your kidneys work. It is more common in children than in adults. Doctors can manage or cure MCD with the right treatment.

Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a genetic (runs in families) disorder that causes cysts (growths filled with fluid) to form on your kidneys and other organs. These cysts can lower your kidney's ability to filter fluid and waste from your blood. Over time, PKD can cause kidney failure. There is no cure for PKD, but treatments can slow the growth of the cysts and prevent PKD symptoms from causing health problems.

Primary hyperoxaluria and oxalate

Primary hyperoxaluria (pronounced preye-merr-ee heye-per-oxal-yur-ee-a) is a rare liver disease. The liver is an organ that converts everything you eat or drink into nutrients and gets rid of toxins. With primary hyperoxaluria, your liver does not make enough of a certain protein to prevent oxalate (a natural chemical in your body) from building up in your body. Oxalate builds up in the kidneys and causes kidney stones and kidney damage.

Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP)  

Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a rare blood condition characterized by excessive clotting in vessels, causing organ damage and skin bruising. Treatment, often plasma therapies, helps manage symptoms and clot formation, although there is no cure.

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