There are five stages of kidney disease. They are shown in the table below. Your treatment is based on your stage of kidney disease. Speak to your healthcare provider if you have any questions about your stage of kidney disease or your treatment.
Think of your kidneys as a coffee filter. When you make coffee, the filter keeps the coffee grains inside, but allows water to pass through. Your kidneys do something similar. They keep the things you need inside your body, but filter out things you don’t need. Each of your kidneys has about 1.5 million filters called nephrons. Nephrons remove wastes and extra fluid from your blood in the form of urine. The urine flows through two tubes, called ureters, to the bladder. The urine is stored there until you go to the bathroom. The wastes come from the breakdown of what you eat or drink, medicine you take, plus normal muscle activity.
Chronic kidney disease means the kidneys are damaged. Damaged kidneys cannot filter your blood well enough, and cannot do their other jobs as well as they should. Kidney disease does not happen overnight. It happens slowly, and in stages. Most people in the early stages do not have any symptoms. They may not know that anything is wrong. But if it is found and treated, kidney disease can often be slowed or stopped. If kidney disease gets worse, wastes can build to high levels in your blood and make you feel sick. You may get other problems like high blood pressure, a low red blood cell count (Anemia), weak bones, poor nutrition, and nerve damage. You will also have a higher chance of getting heart and blood vessel disease. If it keeps getting worse, it can lead to kidney failure. This means your kidneys no longer work well enough to keep you alive, and you need a treatment like dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Diabetes happens when your blood sugar is too high. This causes damage to many organs and muscles in your body, including the kidneys, heart and blood vessels, nerves, and eyes.
High blood pressure happens when the pressure of your blood against the walls of your blood vessels is too high. If high blood pressure is not controlled, it can cause chronic kidney disease, heart attacks, and strokes.