- What Kidneys Do
- Stage 1 Kidney Disease
- Living With
What do your kidneys do?
When you have chronic kidney disease, you slowly lose kidney function over the course of a few years. Stage 1 kidney disease cannot be cured. It’s likely that chronic kidney disease will progress from stage 1 kidney disease to complete failure.
What, though, is the first stage of kidney failure? What are the symptoms of chronic kidney disease?
Learning the answers to questions like these can help you as you live with this condition.
Your body houses two small organs shaped like beans: your kidneys. They can be found in your back, right under your ribcage, with one on each side of your spine. These organs are each about as big as your fist.
The most important function performed by your kidneys is cleaning your blood. Your kidneys filter out waste, salt, and water. This waste leaves your body in the form of urine.
Your kidneys work to keep a balanced amount of salt and minerals in your body, generate hormones to control your blood pressure, form red blood cells, and strengthen your bones. If these important organs stop working correctly, though, toxins will collect in your bloodstream, and you can get sick.
What is stage 1 kidney disease?
Stage 1 kidney disease causes mild damage to your kidneys. They will still function correctly, but you might show slight symptoms of kidney damage.
A glomerular filtration rate measures how much creatinine, a kind of waste, is in your blood. The appropriate rate will be determined based on personal information such as age, gender, and race.
During stage 1, you’ll have a normal glomerular filtration rate, but there will be high levels of protein in your urine.
This is the first phase of chronic kidney disease, which is a long-term condition that has no cure. Anyone can develop this condition, but it’s most common in people who:
- Are Black, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American
- Have high blood pressure
- Have diabetes
- Have irregular kidney structure
- Have heart disease
- Have a family medical history that includes kidney disease
- Have taken painkillers, like over-the-counter aspirin or ibuprofen, over a long period
Different stages of kidney disease
Kidney disease is fairly common, especially as you get older. If you get chronic kidney disease, though, your kidneys don’t immediately fail. You can still live a long life as you learn to handle this disease.
There are five stages of chronic kidney disease:
- Stage 1. Your kidneys work well but may show signs of damage.
- Stage 2. Your kidneys work well but also show signs of damage.
- Stage 3. You experience mildly lower kidney function, and you show symptoms.
- Stage 4. Your kidneys function poorly, possibly becoming seriously damaged.
- Stage 5. Your kidneys are failing or have failed, and you need dialysis or a transplant.
Symptoms of stage 1 kidney disease
Oftentimes, if you have stage 1 kidney disease, you don’t immediately experience symptoms. You might not even know you have this condition unless you visit your healthcare provider.
Signs of stage 1 kidney disease to keep an eye out for, though, include:
- Elevated blood pressure
- Swollen hands or feet
- Urinary tract infections
- Urine with protein or blood in it
- Damage to kidneys that appears on an MRI, CT scan, kidney biopsy, or ultrasound
At this first stage. you may only receive a diagnosis if your healthcare provider orders a urine or blood test for a different reason and the results point to a kidney problem.
Causes of stage 1 kidney disease
Stage 1 kidney disease sets in as a result of injured kidneys that are unable to filter your blood properly. Common causes of chronic kidney disease include:
- Glomerulonephritis, a type of kidney disease that damages the parts of your kidney responsible for filtering your blood
- Polycystic kidney disease, a genetic condition that results in cysts on your kidneys that keep them from functioning
- Hypertensive nephrosclerosis, damage to your kidneys that occurs when you don’t properly address high blood pressure
- Membranous nephropathy, a disorder that causes your immune system to attack the filtering units in your kidney
- Vesicourethral reflux, a condition that makes urine flow backward into the kidneys
- Kidney stones, cancer, or an enlarged prostate that blocks the urinary tract
Diagnosing stage 1 kidney disease
If you think you are developing chronic kidney disease, visit your healthcare provider, especially if your family has a history of kidney disease or if you have a condition that could damage your kidneys. Your healthcare provider will be able to run tests, such as:
Treating stage 1 kidney disease
During this initial stage of chronic kidney disease, your healthcare provider will work to slow kidney damage and maintain your quality of life as long as possible. They might suggest measures like watching your blood sugar if you’re diabetic, maintaining healthy blood pressure, and reevaluating any medications you’re currently taking. You may need to see a nephrologist, a doctor specializing in kidney disease.
You can also take steps on your own to reduce negative effects on your kidneys. Consider making life changes like:
- Maintaining a healthy diet designed specifically to keep your kidneys healthy
- Staying active and exercising frequently
- Maintaining a healthy weight, as determined by you and your doctor
- Breaking certain habits like smoking and using tobacco
Your healthcare provider might prescribe medications, including:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers that help lower your blood pressure
- Diuretics that help remove unnecessary fluids from your body
- Medicine that lowers your cholesterol levels
- Erythropoietin, which helps increase red blood cell count
- Calcitriol and vitamin D, which work to prevent bone loss
- A phosphate binder if your kidneys are unable to remove phosphate
Living with stage 1 kidney disease
Visit your healthcare provider as soon as you suspect that you have stage 1 kidney disease. If you detect and treat it early, you can seriously slow the advance of the disease. Consult with your healthcare provider to learn how you can best manage stage 1 kidney disease.
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Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Kidney Fund: "Stage 1 of chronic kidney disease CKD: Causes, symptoms and treatment."
Cleveland Clinic: "Kidney Disease / Chronic Kidney Disease."
National Health Service: "Chronic kidney disease."
Top Can Stage 1 Kidney Disease Be Cured Related Articles
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Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)Chronic kidney disease (CKD), or chronic kidney failure, is slow and progressive loss of kidney function over several years. CKD is a long-term condition where the kidneys do not work effectively.
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