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A to Z: Kidney Disease

May also be called: Kidney Problem, Renal Disease

Kidney disease is when there's a problem with the kidneys and they can't do a good job of filtering waste. 

More to Know

There are many kinds of kidney disease. Reasons why people get kidney problems are:

  • the kidneys don't grow properly while a baby is in the uterus (womb) 
  • kidney problems run in a person's family 
  • tumors or infections cause problems with how the kidneys work 

Sometimes, doctors don't know exactly why someone gets kidney disease, but they can still treat it.

Doctors usually treat kidney disease (or the problems that cause it to happen) with medicine or surgery. Some kidney diseases eventually lead to kidney failure. People with kidney failure need dialysis or a transplant.  

A few kidney diseases don't need to be treated because they're not causing problems. Doctors just watch to be sure people are OK.

Keep in Mind

Most people have two kidneys. When a problem is in just one kidney, the kidney that's working well takes over to get rid of the body's wastes. 

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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