Over 26 million American adults are affected by Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), and millions more are at risk of contracting the disease. CKD is a condition that causes gradual loss of kidney functions and, overtime, limits a person's ability to perform day-to-day activities. The kidneys are important organs in thebody that filter waste and excess fluids from the body and excrete them as urine. Those that have CKD are unable to filter waste and excess fluids from their body causing them to build up. Deteriorating kidney function can lead to other complications such as hypertension (high blood pressure)anemia (low red blood cell count), weak bones, swelling in arms and legs, a weakened immune system and nutritional deficiencies. It also increases a person’s risk of developing heart and blood vessel diseases. CKD can be caused by diabetes,high blood pressure, glomerulonephritis (an inflammation of the kidney’s filtering units) and other disorders such as inherited Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKDand abnormalities from birth. Of these,diabetes, hypertension and PKD are the most common causes of kidney disease. Sadley, these conditions are often irreversible and progress to a need for dialysis and transplant, with significant morbidity and financial cost, or even to death.

Stages of CKD

There are 5 stages of chronic kidney disease, each based on the estimated GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate) which is usually measured in milliliters per minute (mL/min):

  • Stage 1: GFR > 90–patients have normal kidney function with some abnormalities in urine tests
  • Stage 2: GFR 60-89–mild disease
  • Stage 3: GFR 30-59–moderate disease
  • Stage 4: GFR 15-29–severe disease
  • Stage 5: GFR < 15–end-stage renal disease, patient may need dialysis and/or kidney transplant. Depending on how the patient feels, the doctor will decide whether or not the patient needs dialysis.

Kidney Disease: What You Should Know