Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > 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
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Tushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.