Kidney
Chronic kidney disease (CKD} happens when 85-90% of your kidney gets damaged and becomes functionally impaired.

Doctors have staged the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) from stage 1 to stage 5 in the increasing order of its severity. These stages are based on your glomerular filtration rate (GFR).

GFR is a test that is used to check the functioning of your kidneys. Its results are in the form of mL/min, which is the amount of blood that passes through each filtering unit (glomeruli) of the kidney in a minute.

The GFR is calculated from your serum creatinine levels, your body size, age, sex, and ethnicity.

Table 1. Stages of CKD with corresponding GFR and kidney function

 

Stages of CKD

 

GFR in mL/min

 

Status of kidney function

 

Stage 1

 

≥90

 

Normal kidney function

 

Stage 2

 

60-89

 

A mild decline in kidney function

 

Stage 3

 

30-59

 

A moderate decline in kidney function

 

Stage 4

15-29 

A severe decline in kidney function

 

Stage 5

 

<15

 

Kidney failure or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) requiring dialysis

What causes chronic kidney disease?

CKD happens when 85-90% of your kidney gets damaged and becomes functionally impaired. CKD is caused by a variety of conditions that gradually affect the kidney’s functions over a few to several years.

The conditions that cause chronic kidney disease include

What are the signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease?

Patients with CKD stages 1-3 generally do not have symptoms. Typically, signs and symptoms start appearing during the last stages of 4-5 (GFR < 30). These include:

QUESTION

The only purpose of the kidneys is to filter blood. See Answer

How is chronic kidney disease diagnosed?

The doctor will take your complete medical history along with your family history, such as if anyone in your family has or had diabetes, whether you are on any medications (that can cause kidney damage), and so on. They will perform a thorough physical examination to see if you have any signs or symptoms of CKD.

A few tests will help your doctor confirm the diagnosis of CKD. These are:

  • Kidney function tests: This test will look at your creatinine levels to check if you have trouble with your kidney.
  • Blood tests: Low hemoglobin levels are found in CKD.
  • Urine test: This will be done particularly to check for the presence of protein or persistent protein (proteinuria) in the urine, which is a sign of kidney damage. Other things that the doctor will look for include red blood cells (RBCs) and white blood cells (WBCs).
  • Ultrasonography: To check for any cysts or scarring or size of the kidney.

What are the complications of CKD?

CKD can affect many systems of your body. Some of its complications are:

Can chronic kidney disease be cured?

There is no cure for CKD. However, treatments and an appropriate diet (low-protein, low-salt) can help manage its signs and symptoms. They can help you halt the progression of CKD to a certain extent.

Medications given to treat the complications of CKD can help you make feel better.

There are two main treatments for kidney failure

  • Dialysis: Dialysis is a procedure in which a machine placed outside of your body takes the role of a kidney. This procedure needs to be performed at least three times a week.
  • Kidney transplant: A damaged kidney is replaced with a healthy kidney taken from a donor.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/11/2020
References
Chronic Kidney Disease. Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/238798-overview#