The Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a gradual, progressive condition where the kidneys suffer damage over time and lose their ability to properly filter the blood. Approximately 26 million adults in the U.S. have CKD and millions more are at risk. In the early stages, you may not know your kidneys are not working optimally because they have a remarkable ability to compensate. High risk groups include those with diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), and family history of kidney disease. Early detection and treatment to manage CKD can slow the progression of the disease and prevent kidney failure so it is critical to be tested routinely if you are in a high risk group.

Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

There are 5 stages during the disease progression of CKD.

  1. Kidneys function normally but there is proteinuria (protein in the urine) present. This is an indication of future inhibited kidney function. GFR >90 (normal kidney function but with some evidence of damage)
  2. Kidney function is greater than 60%. Proteinuria may or may not be present. GFR 60-89 (mild)
  3. Kidney function is at 30-59%. GFR 30-59 (moderate)
  4. Kidney function is at 15-29%. GFR 15-29 (severe)
  5. Kidney function is below 15% and the patient may require dialysis at any time based upon certain symptoms. This requires very close supervision since this stage is a very critical time. Dialysis is typically recommended. GFR <15 (kidney failure/End Stage Renal Disease)

Symptoms of Stage 5 kidney disease

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Poor appetite
  • Metallic tastes in your mouth
  • Worsened swelling
  • Blood pressure difficult to control
  • Potassium and other electrolytes become difficult to control