the-kidneys-and-kidney-disease

There are five stages of CKD. Your doctor determines your stage of kidney disease based on the presence of kidney damage and your estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR), which is a measure of your level of kidney function.

Your treatment is based on your stage of kidney disease. Speak to your doctor or specialist nurse if you have any questions about your stage of kidney disease or your treatment.

Stage 1 

A patient at Stage 1 CKD has a GFR of 90 or higher. Kidney function is normal with few or no physical symptoms. At this stage because the kidneys are still well most people will not know they are at Stage 1 CKD. If a person is diagnosed at Stage 1 CKD it is because they are being treated for diabetes of high blood pressure or they have a family history of kidney disease.

Signs & Symptoms of Stage 1 CKD

  • Higher than normal levels of creatinine or urea in the blood
  • Blood or protein in the urine
  • Evidence of kidney damage through a MRI, CT scan, ultrasound or x-ray
  • A family history of kidney disease, such as Polycystic kidney disease

Stage 2

A patient at Stage 2 CKD has a GFR of 60-89. There is usually are few or no physical symptoms at this stage. Although the kidneys are not working at 100% at this stage because the kidneys are still well most people will not know they are at Stage 2 CKD. If a person is diagnosed at Stage 2 CKD it is because they are being treated for diabetes of high blood pressure or they have a family history of kidney disease.

Signs & Symptoms of Stage 2 CKD

  • Higher than normal levels of creatinine or urea in the blood
  • Blood or protein in the urine
  • Evidence of kidney damage through a MRI, CT scan, ultrasound or x-ray
  • A family history of kidney disease, such as polycystic kidney disease

Stage 3

A patient at Stage 3 CKD has moderate kidney damage. At Stage 3a GFR is 45-59 and Stage 3b is 30-44. As the function of the kidney will be declining waste products will start to build up in the blood. The toxic build-up of high concentrations of nitrogenous substances is called uraemia.

Signs & Symptoms of Stage 3 CKD

  • Fatigue
  • Oedema (fluid retention)
  • Muscle cramps or restless legs
  • Urine changes, colour change due to the presence of blood
  • Loss of appetite
  • Skin changes; itching sensation, dry and flaking skin
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Back pain

Stage 4

A patient with Stage 4 CKD has severe kidney damage. At Stage 4 GFR is 15-30. As the function of the kidney will be declining waste products will start to build up in the blood. The toxic build-up of high concentrations of nitrogenous substances is called Uraemia. It is likely that a patient at Stage 4 CKD will need dialysis or a kidney transplant soon.

Signs & Symptoms of Stage 4 CKD

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems, restless legs, muscle cramps
  • Oedema (fluid retention)
  • Kidney pain felt in the back
  • Urine changes, colour change due to the presence of blood
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Changes in taste, metallic taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Skin changes; itching sensation, dry and flaking skin
  • Nerve problems, numbness in extremities

Stage 5

A person with stage 5 chronic kidney disease has end stage renal disease (ESRD) with a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of 15 ml/min or less. At this advanced stage of kidney disease, the kidneys have lost nearly all their ability to do their job effectively, and eventually dialysis or a kidney transplant is needed to live.

Signs & Symptoms of Stage 5 CKD

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Being tired
  • Being unable to concentrate
  • Itching
  • Making little or no urine
  • Swelling, especially around the eyes and ankles
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tingling in hands or feet
  • Changes in skin color
  • Increased skin pigmentation