Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is when the kidneys lose function over time. The change in kidney function can happen quickly over months, but often takes many years to progress. It is very difficult to predict when the kidneys will lose so much function that the body cannot stay healthy without help. Artificial filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant may be needed when the level of waste products or excess fluid in the body becomes unhealthy
Children with CKD may feel completely normal until their kidneys lose much of their function. Sometimes doctors will detect kidney disease during a sports physical exam or when checking a child’s urine or blood tests at a routine office visit.
The signs and symptoms of kidney disease are not very specific. Sometimes children have:
There are many causes for CKD in children, but in some cases, they may not always be found:
Learn more about how the kidneys work
Your child's doctor will take blood and urine tests to make a diagnosis. One of the blood tests will check for the level of creatinine, which helps to measure kidney function. The creatinine level is used to determine how well your child's kidneys filter blood, also known as glomerular filtration rate (GFR).
See handout on "How Well Are Your Kidneys Working?"
Your child's doctor may also order a renal ultrasound to look at the kidneys.
The kidneys are major organs of the body and have many functions. As a result, when the kidneys do not function well, different parts of the body may be affected.
Our health care team will make sure your child has the right medications, nutrition plan and support to help with problems related to CKD.
Kidneys and How They Work
Nutrition for CKD in Children
Support for Children and Families
Seattle Transplant Program
American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP)
American Kidney Fund (AKF)
American Society of Pediatric Nephrology (ASPN)
National Institute of Digestive and Diabetes and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
National Kidney Foundation (NKF)