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How is kidney disease classified?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Kidney disease is classified as acute or chronic, and these conditions may lead to what is called end-stage renal disease.

Acute kidney diseases develop rapidly and send people to the hospital if they aren't already there. After treatment, people can fully heal from acute kidney diseases, though sometimes the damage is permanent.

Chronic kidney disease is a progressive condition where the kidneys gradually lose function over years, often without a person feeling anything different until kidney function is so low that it causes health problems. There aren't cures for chronic kidney diseases, but there are treatments that can slow their progression.

End-stage renal disease refers to when a person's kidneys have permanently failed and will never be able to filter blood efficiently enough to sustain life.

Only dialysis or a kidney transplant can keep a person with end-stage renal disease alive.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.