Having chronic kidney disease can be a major setback for your overall health. A correct intervention by a qualified nephrologist at the right time can slow down or prevent the progression of chronic kidney disease. Failure to do so can lead to the complete loss of kidney function. This may require a kidney transplant.
However, kidney failure doesn’t occur at once, chronic kidney disease often progresses slowly for years. Thus, an understanding of the different stages of kidney disease, their symptoms, and treatment becomes important.
How does my Doctor know the Stage of Kidney Disease?
Your nephrologist will determine the stage of your chronic kidney disease with the help of tests like urine tests and eGFR tests. Glomerular filtration rate or GFR gives an estimate of how well the kidneys are functioning. It considers the gender, age, and level of creatinine in the serum. Creatinine is a waste product that is eliminated by the kidney. If the kidneys are not functioning well, then the levels of creatinine will increase in the blood. A GFR value of 100ml/min is considered to be normal.
Stages of Kidney Disease
Let’s learn about the different stages of kidney disease
In this stage, you will have a normal eGFR of 90 or higher. There may be mild damage to the kidneys. But the kidneys still continue to function. Kidney disease at this stage could be discovered in routine testing.
Symptoms of stage 1
The person doesn’t have any symptoms to indicate the presence of chronic kidney disease. However, the following observations could lead to the discovery of the condition such as:
- Abnormal urea or creatinine levels in the blood
- Indication of kidney damage in ultrasound, MRI, CT scan, and X-ray
Treatment for stage 1 chronic kidney disease
- Manage blood sugar levels if you are a diabetic patient
- Control your blood pressure by limiting salt intake and modifying your lifestyle as advised by your doctor
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet
- Take medicines as advised
You may be in stage 2 if your eGFR is in the range of 60-89. Here, there is mild damage to the kidneys.
Symptoms of stage 2 chronic kidney disease
You may not experience any symptoms at this stage or the symptoms may be non-specific such as :
- Loss of appetite
- Sleep issues
Treatment of Stage 2 kidney disease
At this stage, the condition is still mild and you should adopt a healthy lifestyle and take a nutritious diet. If you are suffering from diabetes or high blood pressure then you should monitor your sugar levels and blood pressure to ensure that the kidney condition doesn’t progress.
At this stage, the eGFR is in the range of 30-59. Your kidney may not function that well because of mild to moderate damage. This can cause waste to build up in the body leading to health issues like bone disease, anemia, or high blood pressure. Stage 3 can be further divided into:
Stage 3a: eGFR value in the range of 45-59
Stage 3b: eGFR value in the range of 30-44
Symptoms of stage 3 chronic kidney disease
Though not every person will experience symptoms at this stage, you can have :
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling of the feet and hands due to fluid retention
- Urinating infrequently and changes in the color of the urine
Treatment for stage 3 chronic kidney disease
The doctor may use the following approaches for managing this condition:
- Recommending medications for controlling blood pressure
- Advising the patient to take a low-salt diet and diuretics for relieving fluid retention
- Medicines for reducing blood cholesterol
- Giving you phosphate binders to reduce the calcification in your blood vessels
The nephrologist may even recommend you consult a dietician to ensure that you are following the right diet.
At this stage, the eGFR falls in the range of 15-29. This indicates moderate or severe damage to the kidneys. Since this stage precedes kidney failure, it is important to get immediate medical treatment. This can slow down the damage to your kidneys.
Symptoms of Stage 4 chronic kidney disease
You may experience the following symptoms in this stage:
- Fatigue, Back pain, swelling, shortness of breath, sleep problems
- Taste changes, loss of appetite, bad breath
- Problems with concentration and nervous system issues like tingling sensation in the fingers or toes
Treatment for stage 4 chronic kidney disease
If your condition has reached this stage, then in addition to the treatment options given above, you may need to start exploring the possibility of a dialysis or kidney transplant.
This stage means that your eGFR has plummeted to less than 15 indicating severe kidney damage. In such a situation, your kidneys have stopped working or are close to reaching that point.
Symptoms of Stage 5 chronic kidney disease
You may experience symptoms like
- Back pain, fatigue, chest pain, breathing problems
- No appetite
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Swelling of feet and hands
Treatment for stage 5 chronic kidney disease
Treatment for this particular stage involves getting dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Kidney Disease Stages and Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate(eGFR)
||90 or Higher
||Kidney Damage with Normal Kidney Function
||Mild Loss of Kidney Function
||Mild to Moderate Loss of Kidney Function
||Moderate to Severe Loss of Kidney Function
||Severe Loss of Kidney Function
||Less Than 15
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Kidneys play a vital role in removing toxins and waste from the body. They also help regulate blood pressure and stimulate red blood cell production. Owing to the important functions performed by kidneys, taking proper care of them is critical. If you are in the early stages of kidney disease, you can still prevent further damage. Consult with a good nephrologist to seek immediate treatment for your kidney disease.