A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop ESRD with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing ESRD. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Risk factors for ESRD include the following:
- Age—Risk of ESRD increases with age
- Gender—Men are more likely than women to develop ESRD
- Race—African-Americans have higher rates of ESRD than people of other races
- Education—People with a lower educational background have a higher risk of developing ESRD
- Weight—Overweight individuals have a higher risk of ESRD
- Proteinuria—History of protein in the urine is a risk factor for ESRD
- Low hemoglobin —Individuals with a history of low hemoglobin have a higher risk of ESRD
- Nocturia—Individuals who frequently have to get up at night to urinate have a greater chance of ESRD
- Hyperuricemia—Higher blood uric acid levels increase risk of ESRD
—Genetic factors have been identified, which either increase the risk of developing chronic renal failure or quicken the progression of this disease.
—Smoking has been linked to the progression of renal disease among diabetic and hypertensive patients.
—Various lipid disorders are associated with the development of and progression to chronic renal failure.
- Recreational drugs
—Opiates and cocaine have been linked to an increased risk for end-stage renal disease.
—Diabetes is the biggest risk factor for developing ESRD; one-third of the people who develop ESRD have diabetes.
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
—Hypertension is the second most common cause of ESRD.
—This disease damages the glomeruli, which are the filtering units in the kidney. It is the third leading cause of ESRD.
- Drug use
—Overuse of over-the-counter pain medication or abuse of illegal drugs increases your risk of ESRD.
- Other diseases
—These conditions also affect kidney functioning:
Chronic kidney disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 22, 2013. Accessed July 2, 2013.
End-stage renal disease. National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases website. Available at:
Updated September 15, 2010. Accessed July 2, 2013.
Last reviewed July 2013 by Adrienne Carmack, MD; Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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