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Stages of Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease when a person suffers from gradual and usually permanent loss of kidney function over time. The kidney function is lost over months or several years. It is best when the disease is diagnosed at an early stage as early intervention may help to slow down the progress of the disease.

With loss of kidney function there is an accumulation of water, waste and toxic substances in the body that are usually excreted by the kidneys. The loss of kidney function also causes other health problems such as anemia, high blood pressure, acidosis, bone disease and abnormal levels of cholesterol and fatty acids.

Risk Factors of Kidney Disease:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Vascular diseases such as arteritis, vasculitis or fibromuscular dysplasia
  • Vesicoureteral reflux
  • Long-term use of anti-inflammatory medication
  • A family history of kidney disease

CKD Symptoms from Damage to the Kidneys

Symptoms of kidney failure that can be caused by damage to the kidneys include:

  • Making more or less urine than usual
  • Urine that is foamy or bubbly (may be seen when protein is in the urine)
  • Blood in the urine (typically only seen through a microscope)

Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease:

  • Frequent urination, especially during nights
  • Swelling in the legs and puffiness around the eyes, signifying fluid retention
  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Loss of appetite accompanied by nausea and vomiting
  • Itching and pale skin that bruises easily
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Numbness of feet or hands
  • Pericarditis or inflammation around the heart
  • Bone pain and frequent fractures
  • Erectile dysfunction

Glomerular filtration rate and Chronic Kidney Disease:

The stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD), are determined by the Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR). Glomerular filtration rate is a calculation that determines how well the blood is filtered by the kidneys. It is one of the ways to measure kidney function.

Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is calculated using a formula that includes a person’s age, gender, race and serum creatinine levels. A GFR under 60 mL/min/1.73 m² indicates kidney disease. The lower the GFR number, the worse the kidney function. Chronic kidney disease is defined as either kidney damage or GFR of less than 60 for longer than 3 months.

Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease:

CKD is divided into 5 stages depending on the glomerular filtration rate (GFR).

The following table shows the stage of kidney disease indicated by the GFR and how it is managed.

Kidney Disease Stage GFR Description Management
Stage 1 90 or above Kidney damage with normal or high GFR - The cause of kidney damage will be identified and treatment will be begun.
- Management of other health problems such as diabetes and hypertension
Stage 2 60 - 89 Kidney damage with slightly lower GFR - The doctor will estimate how quickly the kidney disease is progressing
- Diabetes and hypertension will be kept under control
- You will need regular monitoring
Stage 3 30 - 59 Kidney damage with moderately low GFR - You will be checked by the doctor for anemia and bone disease and begin treatment
Stage 4 15 - 29 Kidney damage with severely low GFR - You will have to decide along with your doctor as to what treatment you will prefer if kidney failure develops
- The doctor will continue to monitor your health condition closely
Stage 5 <15 Kidney failure - You will have to start dialysis or have a kidney transplant.
- You will have to see your doctor regularly for treatment and testing
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