Causes of chronic kidney disease
The two main causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. Both conditions place added pressure on, and ultimately damage to, the kidneys. Other causes of CKD include inherited diseases, inflammatory diseases and infections. To understand more about how kidney disease develops, it can be useful to know how healthy kidneys function. Whether it’s filtering blood or balancing minerals, a kidney is one hard-working organ.
> Learn how your kidneys work
Stages of chronic kidney disease
There are five stages of kidney disease. Stage one indicates a small amount of kidney damage and stage five occurs when your kidneys have failed. This is called end-stage renal disease. The stage you fall into is determined by how much kidney function you still have. To estimate your kidney function, you’ll undergo several simple tests to find out your Glomerular Filtration Rate, or GFR.
GFR is a calculation your doctor will use to check if you have chronic kidney disease and to determine what stage of the disease you have. By looking at your gender, age, weight and the results of a simple blood test, your doctor will be able to tell you your GFR.
|Kidney disease stage
||About your kidney function
||Normal GFR. Other signs of kidney injury, such as blood or protein in the urine, may still exist and indicate a slight loss of kidney function.
||Mild GFR decrease from the normal rate. This could be normal for your age or indicate early kidney disease.
||Kidney function is low. See a nephrologist to learn about treatments you can do now and lifestyle changes you can make to prevent further damage.
||Severe kidney disease. See a nephrologist – a kidney doctor – regularly to learn how to protect your remaining kidney function, prepare for dialysis or find out more about a kidney transplant.
||End-stage renal disease. Dialysis or kidney transplant is necessary to prolong life.
It’s natural to feel anxious if you know you have an increased risk of kidney disease or if you’ve recently been diagnosed. However, there are steps you can take now to maintain what kidney function you still have. Some simple lifestyle changes, such as following a low-salt diet or increasing your exercise regime, can help slow or even stop more damage from occurring.
> Find out how you can help prevent kidney disease