Stages of CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease)

Kidney Health Care - David Mangusan Jr, PTRP

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) means that there is gradual loss of function of the kidneys. This condition is thought to be a “silent” disease as people do not know they have the condition until almost all of kidney function has deteriorated.

A person’s eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate) is the best indicator of how well the kidneys are functioning. This procedure requires a blood sample into which creatinine is measured. Creatinine is a waste product in the blood created by the normal breakdown of muscle cells during activity.

An eGFR of 90 or above is considered normal. A person whose eGFR stays below 60 for 3 months or longer is considered to have CKD. As kidney function declines, the risk of complications rises.

Moderate decrease in eGFR (30 to 59). At this stage of CKD, hormones and minerals can be thrown out of balance, leading to anemia and weak bones. A health care provider can help prevent or treat these complications with medicines and advice about food choices.

Severe reduction in eGFR (15 to 29). The patient should continue following the treatment for complications of CKD and learn as much as possible about the treatments for kidney failure. Each treatment requires preparation. Those who choose hemodialysis will need to have a procedure to make veins in their arms larger and stronger for repeated needle insertions. For peritoneal dialysis, one will need to have a catheter placed in the abdomen. A catheter is a thin, flexible tube used to fill the abdominal cavity with fluid. A person may want to ask family or friends to consider donating a kidney for transplantation.

Kidney failure (eGFR less than 15). When the kidneys do not work well enough to maintain life, dialysis or a kidney transplant will be needed.

In addition to tracking eGFR, blood tests can show when substances in the blood are out of balance. If phosphorus or potassium levels start to climb, a blood test will prompt the health care provider to address these issues before they permanently affect the person’s health.

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Reference:
Your Kidneys and How they Work: What are the stages of CKD. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/yourkidneys/. Accessed June 8, 2010.

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Page Last Revised: December 7, 2010

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