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A kidney transplant is used to treat kidney failure (end-stage kidney disease), a condition in which your kidneys can function at only a fraction of normal capacity. People with end-stage kidney disease need either to have waste removed from their bloodstream (dialysis) or a kidney transplant to stay alive.

Common causes of end-stage kidney disease include:

  • Diabetes
  • Chronic, uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Chronic glomerulonephritis — an inflammation and eventual scarring of the tiny filters within your kidneys (glomeruli)
  • Polycystic kidney disease

Sometimes kidney disease can be managed with diet, medication and treatment for the underlying cause. If despite these steps your kidneys still can't filter your blood adequately, you might be a candidate for a kidney transplant.

Jan. 24, 2015