Kidney Disease Facts

  • 1 in 3 American adults is currently at risk for developing kidney disease.1 The risk increases to 1 in 2 over the course of a lifetime.2
  • 26 million American adults have kidney disease -- and most don't know it.3
  • High blood pressure and diabetes are the two leading causes of kidney disease.4
  • Major risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, family history of kidney failure and being age 60 or older.
  • Additional risk factors include kidney stones, smoking, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
  • Kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in the United States. Every year, kidney disease kills more people than breast or prostate cancer.5
  • Because kidney disease often has no symptoms, it can go undetected until it is very advanced.6
  • Early detection and treatment can slow or prevent the progression of kidney disease.6
  • Those at risk should have simple blood and urine tests to check if their kidneys are working properly.
  • Black Americans are 3 times more likely to experience kidney failure.7
  • Hispanics are 1 ½ times more likely to experience kidney failure.7
  • Every 30 minutes, your kidneys filter all the blood in your body, removing waste and excess fluid.
  • Of 120,000 Americans currently on the waiting list for a lifesaving organ transplant, more than 100,000 need a kidney. Fewer than 17,000 people receive one each year.8
  • Every day 12 people die waiting for a kidney.8
  • Most people have two kidneys, but it is possible to live with only one.
  • Once the kidneys fail, dialysis or a kidney transplant is required.
  • Approximately 430,000 Americans are on dialysis and approximately 185,000 live with a functioning kidney transplant.4

High Blood Pressure

  • High blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney disease.4
  • 73 million American adults have high blood pressure.
  • Since high blood pressure usually has no symptoms, it's important to have regular blood pressure check-ups.
  • 20% of all Americans with high blood pressure don't know they have it.9


  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease.4
  • Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes.10
  • More than 224,000 people are currently living with kidney failure caused by diabetes.4

Kidney Stones11

  • 1 in 10 Americans will have a kidney stone during his or her lifetime.
  • Each year, more than half a million people visit emergency rooms for kidney stone problems.
  • White Americans are more prone to developing kidney stones.
  • Men are much more likely than women to develop kidney stones.

Kidney Cancer

  • Kidney cancer is nearly twice as common in men as in women.12
  • Black Americans have a slightly higher rate of kidney cancer than white Americans.12

Economic Burden of Kidney Disease

  • Annual medical payments for a patient with kidney disease increase from $15,000 in stage 3 to $28,000 in stage 4 to more than $70,000 in stage 5.13
  • The average annual number of physician visits for an individual with diagnosed kidney disease is 10.28 -- second only to cancer.14
  • Medicare spends nearly $30 billion annually to treat people with kidney failure.4



  2. Grams et al. Am J Kidney Dis. 2013. 62(2):245-252.
  3. Coresh et al. JAMA. 2007. 298: 2038-2047.
  4. 2013 Annual Report
  8. as of October 28, 2014.
  13. Sullivan S. J Manag Care Pharm. 2007 Dec; 13(9 Suppl D):S19-21.
  14. Schneider KM, O'Donnell BE, Dean D. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2009 Sep 8; 7:82.

Updated October 2014