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

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is when lasting damage to your kidneys causes them to lose their ability to filter waste and fluid out of your blood. Waste can build up in your body and harm your health. This damage–and your kidney function–can get worse over time, and when your kidneys stop working completely, this is called kidney failure or end-stage renal disease.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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