Yes, chronic kidney disease can have a hereditary component. If you have a close relative with chronic kidney disease, you may be at a higher risk of developing the condition. However, lifestyle choices, underlying health conditions, and social determinants all affect your overall kidney health.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the main factors that can influence your kidney health, including hereditary traits and lifestyle factors. Finally, we’ll cover some simple tips for maintaining kidney health throughout your life. Let's get right to it!
How Do Genetics Influence Chronic Kidney Disease?
Some diseases are passed down through families. Sickle cell disease is one common example of a genetic disease, and hemophilia was famously passed to Alexei Romanov, the heir to the Russian empire in the early 1900s.
Likewise, certain genetic mutations like Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD) can lead to chronic kidney disease being passed from parent to child. In addition, genetic variations in some genes (namely the APOL1 and MYH9 genes) are responsible for kidney-disease related risks. Variants of these genes are also far more common among Black communities in America.
Although, genetic factors to chronic kidney disease are not usually the main determinant.
How Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) Contribute to Chronic Kidney Disease Risk
Genetics do play a role in chronic kidney disease, but in most cases, if you have a family history of chronic kidney disease, diabetes, or hypertension, it may largely be due to social determinants of health (SDoH). SDoH include things like:
We also know that early detection of chronic kidney disease is essential for preserving kidney function. But Black, minority, and rural communities that often lack medical care may not have adequate opportunities for kidney health testing.
SDoHs like where you grow up, the diet you’re fed and can afford, and the availability of healthcare in your community are often things that you don’t have total control over. Despite this, there are numerous individual choices that can also impact the likelihood of developing chronic kidney disease.
The Impact of Individual Choices on Chronic Kidney Disease
We’ve now touched on how genetics and social determinants of health can impact your risk for developing chronic kidney disease. The final major contributor to your risk for chronic kidney disease is your lifestyle choices.
Broadly speaking, making wise choices about diet and exercise are some of the most important things you can do to protect your kidneys. This includes doing things like:
Key Takeaway: Chronic Kidney Disease is Usually the Result of Several Factors
While chronic kidney disease has a hereditary component, having a close relative with CKD doesn’t mean you’re certain to have it. Your diet, level of activity, and other factors influence it as well. To keep your kidneys healthy over time, take the time to monitor your overall health and make smart lifestyle choices.
About Milwaukee Nephrologists
Milwaukee Nephrologists is Southeast Wisconsin’s leader in kidney care, with over 15 locations throughout the Milwaukee metro area. Our multidisciplinary team is home to over a dozen specialists, each of whom is board-certified in nephrology. Our transplant specialists, dietitians, and physicians can help craft a personalized care plan for your kidney health.
If you’re concerned about your kidney health or have a family history of chronic kidney disease, our team may be able to help. To schedule a consultation, get in touch today!
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for informational use only. Consult with your physician before making medical decisions.