Chronic kidney disease describes the gradual loss of kidney function over a period of months to years. It is estimated that 10 percent of the population worldwide is affected by chronic kidney disease. A diagnosis of chronic kidney disease indicates that a person’s kidneys are damaged and cannot filter blood the way they should. This causes wastes to build up in the body. Kidney disease is an independent risk factor for other health problems such as heart disease and stroke. Major risk factors for chronic kidney disease include hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, a family history of kidney disease, glomerulonephritis, polycystic kidney disease, and certain drugs and medications.
Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is one of the best ways to measure the level of kidney function. It is a calculation based on blood creatinine, age, race, gender and other factors. Urinary excretion of albumin also helps aid in the diagnosis of chronic kidney disease.
There is no “cure” for chronic kidney disease. However, some therapies can help control signs and symptoms and reduce complications. The earlier kidney disease is detected, the better the chances are to slow its progression.
The five stages of chronic kidney disease are as follows:
- Stage 1 with normal or high GFR (GFR>90 mL/min)
- Stage 2 Mild CKD (GFR 60-89 mL/min)
- Stage 3a Moderate CKD (GFR 45-59 mL/min)
- Stage 3b Moderate CKD (GFR 30-44 mL/min)
- Stage 4 Severe CKD (GFR 15-29 mL/min)
- Stage 5 End Stage CKD (GFR (15 mL/min)