Kidney Disease And Stages – The Stages Explained

Kidney Disease explained and what are the 5 stages

In my earlier post GFR Levels For Kidney Disease I explained about the tests you have to determine if you have kidney disease and that depending on your GFR level, this then tells your doctor which stage of kidney disease you fall into.

Stage 1 Kidney Disease (GFR > 90 ml/min)

If you have a GFR level of 90 or above this usually means that your kidneys are healthy but you could still fall into stage 1 kidney disease because of high protein in your urine or because of physical damage to your kidneys. There are usually no symptoms for stage 1 kidney damage and it is mainly detected when been tested for other medical conditions.

Some signs that a doctor can tell if you are at stage 1 kidney disease include:

  • High level of creatinine in your blood
  • Protein in your urine
  • Kidney disease in your family history
  • Damage to the kidneys been found through scans like MRI or x-ray

Treatment For Stage 1 Kidney Disease

No medical treatment is necessary but it is important to have your urine and blood checked regularly to see if the disease is progressing. It is recommended that you follow a healthy diet full of vitamins and minerals and take plenty of exercises, keep your blood pressure around 130/85 and keep good blood glucose control.

Stage 2 Kidney Disease (GFR = 60-89 ml/min)

A patient at Stage 2 CKD has a GFR of 60-89 and has mild kidney disease because the kidneys are still working well there are usually no symptoms. A person diagnosed at Stage 2 CKD is because they are being treated for diabetes or high blood pressure or they have kidney disease in the family.

Some signs that a doctor can tell if you are at stage 2 kidney disease include:

  • High level of creatinine in your blood
  • Protein in your urine
  • Kidney disease in your family history
  • Damage to the kidneys been found through scans like MRI or x-ray
  • Diabetes

Treatment For Stage 2 Kidney Disease

Treatment for stage 2 kidney disease is the same as for stage 1 >No medical treatment is necessary but it is important to have your urine and blood checked regularly to see if the disease is progressing. It is recommended that you follow a healthy diet full of vitamins and minerals and take plenty of exercises, keep your blood pressure around 130/85 and keep good blood glucose control.

Stage 3 Kidney Disease (GFR = 30-59 ml/min)

Stage 3 kidney disease is separated into two stages; Stage 3a and Stage 3b. Stage 3a is a GFR between 45 and 59. Stage 3b is a GFR between 30 and 44. Stage 3 is moderate kidney disease and means your kidneys are not working as well as they should and will not be filtering your blood of all the waste products (uremia).

Symptoms of stage 3 kidney disease

  • Fatigue

    stages chronic kidney disease chart

    stages of chronic kidney disease chart

  • Muscle cramps
  • Frequency of needing to empty bladder
  • Blood in urine
  • Fluid retention
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry and flaking skin
  • Back pain
  • Shortness of breath

Treatment For Stage 3 Kidney Disease

As with stage 1 and 2, a healthy lifestyle is recommended to help with slowing down the progression of kidney disease. By Stage 3 kidney disease, you are more likely to have health issues as a result of waste building up in your body. Common complications from kidney disease are high blood pressure, anemia, and high cholesterol.

You will likely be prescribed tablets to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Studies have shown that ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors and ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) help to slow down the progression of kidney disease

You may also be asked to see a who will advise you on a healthy diet plan, making sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals in your food because these can help preserve kidney function and your health

Stage 4 Kidney Disease (GFR = 15-29 ml/min)

A patient with Stage 4 CKD has severe kidney damage. At Stage 4 GFR is 15-29. As kidney function declines, waste products build up in the blood causing a condition known as uremia. In stage 4, a person is likely to develop complications of kidney disease such as high blood pressure, anemia (a shortage of red blood cells), bone disease, heart disease, and other vascular diseases.

Symptoms of stage 4 kidney disease

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • A poor appetite leading to weight loss
  • Dry, itchy skin.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Swollen feet and ankles.
  • A need to pass more urine
  • Being pale due to anemia.
  • Feeling sick.
  • Changes in taste, metallic taste in the mouth
  • Nerve problems, numbness in extremities

Treatment For Stage 4 Kidney Disease

At stage 4 kidney disease you will be referred to your kidney doctor known as a nephrologist at the hospital. You will see the kidney doctor probably about every 3 months for blood and urine tests to check your creatinine, hemoglobin, calcium and phosphorus levels to determine how well your kidneys are working. The doctor will also discuss your options for future treatment when it is needed.

As well as the medication you started to take at stage 4 the kidney doctor may also start you on an injection called erythropoietin (EPO) to help increase production of red blood cells

You will also need to see the dietician, who will discuss with you the correct diet you should be eating to help your kidneys

Stage 5 Kidney Disease (GFR <15 ml/min)

A person at stage 5 kidney disease as a GFR level below 15. Stage 5 kidney disease is also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD). At this stage of kidney disease, your kidneys can no longer filter your blood as they should, and they start to produce fewer hormones your body needs to make red blood cells and activating vitamin D for healthy bones. A kidney transplant or dialysis is needed to maintain life.

Symptoms of stage 5 kidney disease

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Sleep problems
  • Making little urine
  • Mental sharpness decline
  • Muscle cramps & twitches
  • Swelling of feet or ankles
  • High potassium levels
  • Persistent itching
  • Chest pain, if fluid builds up around the lining of the heart
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blood pressure that is high and hard to control
  • Weak immune system, which makes you more vulnerable to infection
  • Decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction or reduced fertility
  • Weak bones and an increased risk of bone fractures – Vitamin D supplement advised
  • Iron deficiency

Treatment For Stage 5 Kidney Disease

There are a few options for treating stage 5 kidney disease, hopefully, you have already discussed these with your kidney doctor and chosen the option that best suits you and your lifestyle.

Treatment options include Dialysis, Transplant or Supportive Care without dialysis.

To read more on the treatment options please read my post Kidney disease and treatment.

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