Chronic Kidney Disease – The Stages

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic Kidney Disease(CKD) is one of the most common types of non-communicable diseases in the world. In 2017, there were nearly 700 million new cases of all types of CKD recorded globally. Those numbers are certain to continue to rise with the continued increased number of cases of diabetes and high blood pressure every year.

Chronic kidney disease is a condition that many people in the world experience. There are multitudes of reasons why people develop this illness, and it is very important that people become more aware of the risks associated with the disease. It is a medical condition of decreasing kidney function that occurs over time.

It’s best to learn some of the details about this progressive disease and learn what actually happens to the kidneys in the process. Often, the symptoms of kidney disease develop slowly and may not even be recognized until years later.

The Stages

Chronic kidney disease is usually described in stages such as 1 through 5. The stages of chronic kidney disease have been defined to describe levels of damage to the kidneys.

The percentage of damage is determined based on the kidney glomerular filtration rate, which is a measure of the efficiency of kidney filtration of the blood. This can be calculated with routine blood work.

Each stage has some characteristic symptoms with some overlap of individual stages. The goal for any patient with chronic kidney disease would be to do everything in their power to keep from progressing to a higher stage.

Stage 1

In stage 1, the kidneys are doing just fine, and they are functioning well even though they have experienced a small amount of damage.

Most people who have this condition will not realize they have any trouble with their kidneys at all.

They usually have no symptoms and have often not sought medical care at all.

Stage 2

In stage 2, the damage to the kidneys is slightly more.

People who have advanced to this point may be experiencing a few symptoms such as itching, feeling tired, or decreased appetite.

At this stage, the kidneys are functioning between 60 and 89 percent of normal. Many people who have high blood pressure or diabetes can go on to develop this stage of the illness.

It’s imperative that a kidney specialist becomes involved in the person’s medical care. The reason is that this will be the best way to prevent worsening kidney function. Preventative measures are so important at the early stages of kidney disease.

Stage 3

In stage 3, the damage to the kidneys is more extensive, and the kidneys function in the range of 30 to 59%. This stage is also often broken down into A and B subcategories.

Patients often have quite a bit of swelling of the extremities, generalized weakness, and increased urination. These patients usually require treatment with medications such as diuretics and low sodium diets to facilitate the removal of excess fluid.

Stage 4

In stage 4, the damage to the kidneys is moderate to severe, and the function of the kidneys is as low as 15 to 29%. People at this level are very close to developing Stage 5 of the disease, which is end stage renal failure. It’s of the utmost importance that the person does everything they can to prevent this from progressing to that point.

People usually experience muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting, swelling, persistent itching, difficulty sleeping, and decreasing mentation. Patients should be in regular communication with their kidney specialist when at this stage to achieve the best outcome.

Stage 5

If someone progresses to Stage 5, their kidney function is less than 15%, and the kidneys are in a state of failure. Many people progress to the point of urinating very little or not urinating at all.
At this level, patients will need to be treated with some form of dialysis.

Complications In Stage 5 Chronic Kidney Disease

If patients with Stage 5 CKD are untreated, they can develop excessive swelling in the entire body. They may even start to have fluid build-up in their lungs. When that occurs, they will experience shortness of breath and sometimes cough up fluid. Dialysis will be life-saving treatment for patients who have this condition.

In addition, elevated levels of potassium is a common occurrence in people with Stage 5 kidney disease. Untreated high potassium levels are not sustainable with life, and the person will require emergent dialysis to treat this condition.

Due to the increased risk of complications with Stage 5 illness, patients will tend to have an increased number of hospitalizations each year.

 

Final Thoughts

Chronic kidney disease has several stages of worsening kidney function, and it’s important that you know more about how well your kidneys are functioning. If you know that you have chronic kidney disease, you can try to focus on maintaining a steady level of kidney function.

Doing everything you can to avoid the late stages of CKD will serve you very well.

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About the Author: Julie Souza

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