Chronic kidney disease, also called chronic kidney failure, describes the loss of kidney function over time. Your kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood, which are then excreted in your urine. When chronic kidney disease reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes, and wastes can build up in your body.
In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, you may have few signs or symptoms, such as decreased urine output, fatigue, and nausea. Chronic kidney disease may not become apparent until your kidney function is significantly impaired.
Treatment focuses on slowing the progression of the kidney damage, usually by controlling the underlying cause. Chronic kidney disease can progress to end-stage kidney failure, which is fatal without artificial filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant.