ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The kidney is an important organ that filters blood and helps maintain a healthy balance of water, salts, and minerals in the body. However, many people in the United States live with chronic kidney disease.

About one in nine Americans experience kidney disease. About one in 500 of those will progress to end-stage kidney disease requiring dialysis or a transplant.

"In the state of Virginia, there's about 14,000 patients currently on dialysis and about 6,000 people living with a transplant," said Dr. Conrad Deel, a nephrologist at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital.

Sometimes, early on in kidney disease, there are no symptoms at all, and the disease is detected by laboratories, but there are a few symptoms doctors can seek.

"Advanced kidney disease may manifest itself as swelling in the ankles, shortness of breath, itching, foamy or bubbly urine, blood in the urine, those kinds of things," Deel said.

There are five stages of kidney disease.

"The first stage is where there is evidence of kidney disease but the kidney function is normal, stage five is end-stage kidney disease requiring dialysis or transplantation, and two, three, and four are in-between," he said.

There are a number of risk factors that increase a person's risk of developing kidney disease.

"Risk factors for developing kidney disease include diabetes, that's the most common cause of kidney disease, but also high blood pressure, family history of kidney disease, and exposure to substances that may be toxic to the kidneys," Dr. Deel said.

Managing those risk factors is important for managing the disease.

"To manage the disease that affects the kidney such as good control of diabetes, good control of high blood pressure, avoiding substances that are known to be toxic to the kidneys, these would be the most important things."

Those substances would include anti-inflammatory medicines like Ibuprofen.

To learn more about chronic kidney disease, click here.