In most cases, kidney disease is preventable, but not curable. The most common causes of kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. Working with your doctor to prevent these problems, or manage them if you have them, can help prevent kidney disease.

If you have chronic kidney disease, meaning your kidneys are damaged and can’t work as well as they should, you may still be able to prevent kidney failure, which is when your kidneys don’t work at all. Following a kidney-friendly diet, getting plenty of exercise, and managing your risk factors can help you prevent kidney failure.

Acute kidney failure, when your kidneys stop working suddenly, is sometimes reversible. With the right treatment, your kidneys may go back to working normally.

Kidney damage that gets worse slowly, over time, cannot be fixed. There is no cure for this type of kidney failure, which is also called end-stage renal disease (ESRD). If you have ESRD, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. Many people live very long lives on dialysis or after a kidney transplant.