Chronic Kidney Disease develops when your kidneys start to lose function. It can happen gradually or very quickly, so knowing its cause can help you get the right treatment from the start and help keep your kidneys healthy. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease. When diabetes is not controlled, or when a person has diabetes over many years, excess sugar that gets into the bloodstream damages the blood vessels, which leads to decreased kidney function. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the second most common cause of kidney disease and is responsible for about 28% of kidney failure. If left untreated, the blood vessels in your kidneys that carry blood throughout the body can be permanently damaged. The good news is, you can care for your kidneys by controlling your blood sugar and blood pressure. Kidney disease is not contagious, but it can run in families. So if one of your family members has diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney disease, you could be at risk and should tell your physician at your next checkup. To learn more about the causes of kidney disease, visit DaVita.com.