What are the Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease

What are the Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can range from mild to very severe. It is a progressive disease. This means that it can get worse over time if not effectively managed. There is no cure for CKD. 

The 5 Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease describe the severity. People can’t tell how bad their CKD is because they often don’t have any symptoms. The earlier CKD is detected, the better the chance of slowing or stopping its progression. 

How is Kidney Function Measured?

Your healthcare provider determines your stage of kidney disease based on the presence of kidney damage and your glomerular filtration rate (GFR). 

Red background with text "GFR"

Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) measures how much kidney function you have. A low level of GFR may mean your kidneys are no longer working as well as they should to remove waste from your body. 

A math formula is used to calculate eGFR using your blood creatinine level, age, sex, and body size. In adults GFR declines with age, even in people without kidney disease. 

Your GFR tells your healthcare provider the stage of kidney disease and helps guide a treatment plan. The earlier kidney disease is detected, the better the chance of slowing or stopping its progression. 

Chart of stages of ckd

What Are the 5 Stages of Kidney Disease?

Stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD) are based on presence of kidney damage and your GFR. As the stages progress, the percent of kidney function declines. Healthcare providers use this information to plan treatment. 

What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease?

Healthy kidneys remove excess fluid and waste from your blood. When your kidneys don’t work as well, excess fluid and waste can build up in your blood and make you feel sick. 

In the early stages of kidney disease, many people don’t have any symptoms. Some people don’t know they have chronic kidney disease (CKD) until their kidneys fail. Symptoms usually show up late in the progression of the disease. 

Woman's hands holding swollen ankle

Advanced kidney disease can cause these symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting 
  • Weight loss 
  • Feeling week or tired 
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Itching 
  • Muscle cramps (especially in the legs) 
  • Swelling of your feet or ankles 
  • Anemia (a low blood count)