The Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease

The Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney diseases (CKD) is unique in many ways. Those who have never found themselves or a loved one affected by it may have many misconceptions about how the disease develops. Understanding the signs of CKD will help you be prepared for the future should you ever face this condition.

CKD often presents itself slowly. Rather than the kidneys suddenly failing, the disease progresses over a long period of time – often many years. Due to this, CKD has the opportunity to be caught early on. Lifestyle shifts and medication plans can assist in slowing the condition’s progress and maintaining solid health for as long as possible.

To better understand kidney disease, the National Kidney Foundation has identified five key stages of CKD. This categorization was developed to assist medical professionals. Patients require unique care, testing and treatments plans depending on what stage they find themselves in when a diagnosis is confirmed.

To discover what stage a patient is in, a math formula call the Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) was created. Many factors are used in this assessment including the patient’s age, race, gender and serum creatinine. Creatinine is a waste product produced from muscle activity, which is removed from the blood when kidneys are functioning properly. Through a blood test, doctors can see how high one’s levels of creatinine are. Stages one through five of CKD measure the body’s GFR and move from normal to mild, through to moderate, severe and end stage.

In stages one and two, lifestyle changes are key. Doctors recommend a healthy diet, lowering stress and keeping blood pressure at a healthy level. If a patient is at stage three when diagnosed, they should begin consultations with a kidney specialist, known as a nephrologist. Creating a specialized meal plan with a dietitian is key, and a prescription for blood pressure medication will often be given. Those in stage four of CKG will begin to visit their doctor every three months. They will be assisted in considering choices of dialysis or kidney transplant. These options will most certainly be put into place if the patient is in stage five.

While there is no known cure for kidney disease, accurate diagnostics and proper treatment and care can make a world of difference. Working with the right specialists to make a personalized plan is key to maintaining your best health through this arduous journey.

 

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