Has your doctor told you that you have chronic kidney disease (CKD)? This means your kidneys are damaged, and are not working as well as they should. Many things can cause CKD.
The most common causes are high blood pressure and diabetes.
There are many levels (or stages) of kidney disease. Doctors take even a small amount of damage to the kidneys seriously. To understand your diagnosis, it’s important to know how much damage there is. This will also help you know what you can do to prevent further damage.
Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
There are five stages of kidney disease. A higher stage means that the kidney disease is more severe or advanced. If kidney disease progresses, your stage of kidney disease will go up.
Most people with stage 5 kidney disease will need either a kidney transplant or to start dialysis. Dialysis is a treatment that filters toxins out of your blood. Work with your doctor to figure out if you will need a kidney transplant or dialysis and which option is right for you! People at stage 5 kidney disease may also have symptoms like fatigue, poor appetite, or nausea.
It is important to know that it is usually impossible to reverse chronic kidney disease. If you have kidney disease, your goal is to stop it from getting worse. This will help keep your stage of kidney disease from going up.
How Do I Know My Kidney Disease Stage?
The first step to understanding how well your kidneys are working is to learn what your GFR is. You will be able to find your GFR on most blood tests. If you can’t find your GFR, ask your doctor.
GFR stands for “glomerular filtration rate.” Think of GFR as the percent of how well your kidneys are working. So, if your GFR is 40 ml/min, then your kidneys are working at about 40% of what they should be.
Your GFR will determine what stage of kidney disease you have. Use this chart to help you figure out what stage of kidney disease you have.