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What are the causes of kidney disease?

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The two leading causes of kidney disease and kidney failure are complications arising from type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Other causes include glomerulonephritis, kidney infections and damage stemming from the abuse of pain killers and illegal drugs. While some cases of kidney disease are effectively treated, others lead to kidney failure.

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People with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure can lower the risk of kidney disease, or prolong its progression, with medication, diet modification and other lifestyle changes. Kidney disease happens when damaged kidneys no longer effectively remove waste products or fluids and begin to leak, notes the American Diabetes Association. Type 2 diabetes can damage kidneys because high blood glucose levels force the kidneys to work harder, wearing them out over time and leading to damage.

High blood pressure damages the kidneys by impairing the numerous tiny blood vessels located within them, leading to restricted or blocked blood flow to the kidneys, according to the American Heart Association. This leads to a vicious cycle where damaged kidneys cannot regulate hormones properly, including the hormone that helps control blood pressure. This causes blood pressure to rise even more, resulting in more damage to the kidneys.

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