Diabetes mellitus types 1 and 2 and hypertension are the leading causes of renal impairment, the National Kidney Foundation states. Progression of kidney disease is preventable with treatment of the two conditions.
Other causes of renal impairment include HIV-AIDS, hepatitis, drug use and recurrent urinary tract infections, according to WebMD. Renal impairment is the result of damaged kidneys causing waste accumulation in the blood, tissues and organs of the body. The condition is characterized by fluid retention in the legs and ankles, nausea, vomiting, and breathing difficulty. When renal impairment persists for more than three months, it is referred to as chronic kidney disease, or CKD. It's a potentially fatal condition if not treated.
CKD can lead to end-stage renal disease or total kidney failure, the National Kidney Foundation explains. If 90 percent of renal function is lost, the disease has reached the end stage of impairment. Frequently referred to as renal replacement therapy, dialysis provides an artificial means of eliminating toxins and excess water from the body that are normally excreted by the kidneys, Medical News Today reports. While dialysis is not as effective at removing waste as healthy kidneys, it can prolong life and allow time for a possible kidney transplant.