Your kidneys help your whole body work properly. When you have CKD, you can also have problems with how the rest of your body is working. Some of the common complications of CKD include anemia, bone disease, heart disease, high potassium, high calcium and fluid buildup.


Most commonly, kidney disease can cause gout. However, gout may also lead to kidney disease. Since uric acid is filtered through the kidneys, the two diseases are related. Learn more about gout and kidney disease.

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Your kidneys help your body make red blood cells. When your kidneys are not working properly, your body may not have enough red blood cells. This condition is called anemia (ah-NEE-mee-uh). Learn more.

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Metabolic acidosis

Metabolic acidosis is a buildup of acid in your body. Your kidneys help keep the right balance of acids in your body. Metabolic acidosis is common in people with kidney disease because their kidneys are not filtering their blood well enough. Learn more about metabolic acidosis.

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Secondary hyperparathyroidism

Secondary hyperparathyroidism is common in people who have kidney failure (stage 5 kidney disease). It happens when your body’s levels of calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus are not in balance. It is important to treat secondary hyperparathyroidism to prevent it from causing other health problems, such as bone disease. Learn more about secondary hyperparathyroidism.

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Bone disease and high phosphorus (hyperphosphatemia)

You need calcium and vitamin D to have healthy bones. Healthy kidneys help keep your bones healthy. If you have CKD, your kidneys may not be able to do this important job. Learn more.

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Heart disease

Heart disease can cause kidney disease, but kidney disease can also cause heart disease. Heart disease is the most common cause of death among people on dialysis.

When your kidneys are not working well, they cannot support the other parts of your body as they should. This can cause problems with your heart. Learn more about heart disease and chronic kidney disease (CKD).

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High potassium (hyperkalemia)

Healthy kidneys filter extra potassium (a mineral found in many foods) from the blood. If you have CKD, you need to limit your potassium because your kidneys may not be able to filter it. Learn more.

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Fluid buildup

Healthy kidneys take out extra fluid (liquid) from your blood. When your kidneys are not working as well as they should, they cannot take out enough fluid. This can cause the extra fluid in your blood to build up in your body.

Having too much fluid in your body can cause problems with your heart and lungs. It can also cause high blood pressure, which is the second most common cause of kidney failure. Controlling your fluid intake can help prevent these problems and lower your risk for further kidney damage.

If your body is holding on to too much fluid, you may notice a faster heartbeat and swelling that starts in your feet and ankles and moves upward. Limiting how much fluid you take in can help you feel better.

Use these tips to limit how much fluid you take in each day and check out our infographic on staying hydrated without overdoing fluids:

  • Follow a low-salt diet. Salt can make your body hold on to more fluid than it should.
  • If you are thirsty, try sucking on an ice cube or a hard candy (sugar-free if you have diabetes).
  • Remember that foods, such as ice cream and soup, count as fluid! Fruits and vegetables also have fluid in them. Each time you eat or drink something that is considered a fluid, write it down. Keep track of how much fluid you take in throughout the day.

Ask your doctor how much fluid you should have. Use the tips above to achieve your fluid goal!

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