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Kidney failure caused by chronic kidney 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 the estimated glomerular filtration rate, or eGFR. Kidney failure usually occurs when the eGFR 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.
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