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Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease


In chronic kidney disease (CKD), the kidneys don’t usually fail all at once. Instead, kidney disease often progresses slowly, over a period of years. This is good news because , if CKD is caught early, medications and lifestyle changes may help slow its progress and keep you feeling your best for as long as possible. With early diagnosis, it may be

possible to slow, stop, or even reverse CKD, depending on the cause. The national Kidney Foundation (NKF) recently published information on the stages of CKD. In the table below, the “GFR level”, or glomerular filtration rate, is a measure of how well your kidneys are cleaning your blood.

Normal kidney functionHealthy kidneys90 mL/minute or more
Stage 1Kidney damage with normal or high GFR90 mL/minute or more
Stage 2Kidney damage & decrease in GFR mild60 to 89 mL/minute
Stage 3Moderate decrease in GFR30 to 59 mL/minute
Stage 4Severe decrease in GFR15 to 29 mL/minute
Stage 5Kidney failureLess than 15 mL/minute or ondialysis


In stage 1 and stage 2 CKD, there are often few symptoms. Early CKD is usually diagnosed when there is:

  • High blood pressure
  • Higher than normal levels of creatinine or urea in the blood
  • Blood or protein in the urine
  • Evidence of kidney damage in an MRI, CT scan, ultrasound, or contrast X-ray
  • A family history of polycystic kidney disease

In state 3 CKD, anemia (a shortage of red blood cells) and/or early bone disease may

appear and should be treated to help you feel your best and reduce problems down the road.