First Time User? Enroll now.
*Vaccine availability and appointments* | Visitor and mask policies | Additional COVID-19 resources.
Home > Health Library > Kidney failure
Kidney failure (also called end-stage renal disease) occurs when kidney damage is so severe that a person needs dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life. Kidney failure often occurs after kidney damage has been present for 10 years or more.
Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of kidney failure in the United States.
Kidney failure can be measured by how well the kidneys are able to filter wastes from the blood. This is called glomerular filtration rate, or GFR. Kidney failure usually occurs when the GFR falls to below 15% of what is expected in a person with normal kidney function.
Kidney failure is treated with dialysis, which helps filter waste products from the blood when the kidneys are not working properly, or with kidney transplant.
Current as of: December 17, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine & Tushar J. Vachharajani MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.