Stages of kidney disease

Stages of kidney disease

There are various stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and your doctor will regularly test your urine and blood to find out if there is kidney damage, how serious the condition is, whether it is getting worse and what treatments you might need to manage your symptoms.

How is kidney disease measured?

A blood test called eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate) indicates roughly how well the kidneys are working to filter out waste from your blood. eGFR is reported in millilitres per minute and a normal eGFR is greater than 90 mL/min. eGFR is often shown as a percentage of normal and people find it useful to think of kidney function as a percentage, going from 100% (fully functioning) to 0% (no function).

A simple urine test or ACR (albumin to creatinine ratio) is also performed to look for signs that protein is leaking into the urine. This is an important sign of kidney damage.

In Stages 1 and 2, there are often few symptoms. If at this stage CKD is caught early, medications and lifestyle changes can slow down its progress and even stop or reverse CKD depending on its cause.

In Stage 3a and 3b CKD, anaemia (a shortage of red blood cells) and / or early bone disease may appear and should be treated immediately. You should also be having your kidney function checked every 6-12 months.

When CKD progresses to stage four, you have more marked kidney changes and would normally be referred to a kidney specialist.

At Stage 5 as your kidneys begin to fail, it’s time to have discussions about more active treatment and begin preparing for dialysis and / or a kidney transplant.

How is kidney disease measured?

How is kidney disease measured?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD)

CKD is a long-term condition where the kidneys don’t work as well as they should.

It’s a common condition often associated with getting older. Anyone can get it, although it’s more common in black people and people of south Asian origin.

CKD can get gradually worse over time and eventually the kidneys may stop working altogether, but this is uncommon. Many people with kidney disease are able to live long, largely normal lives.

Symptoms of CKD

There are usually no symptoms of kidney disease in the early stages. It may only be picked up if blood or urine tests carried out for another reason detect a possible problem with your kidneys.Many people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) won’t have symptoms because it doesn’t usually cause problems until it reaches an advanced stage.

Early stages of CKD

There don’t tend to be any symptoms of kidney disease when it’s at an early stage.

This is because the body is usually able to cope with a significant reduction in kidney function.

Kidney disease is often only diagnosed at this stage after a routine test, such as a blood or urine test, detects a possible problem.

If it’s picked up at this stage, you may only need medication and regular tests to monitor it. This can help stop it becoming more advanced.

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