Kidney Disease
Stages

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is divided into 5 stages based on the level of kidney function. Stages are determined through certain tests performed by your doctor, including a test used to calculate the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), which measures how well your kidneys are cleaning your blood. Kidney disease is a progressive disease, meaning that kidney function can continue to decline over time, eventually resulting in kidney failure.

While there is typically no cure for CKD, there are treatments that can help. Getting tested is important—with early diagnosis and treatment, you may be able to slow progression and keep your kidneys working.

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Chronic Kidney Disease Stage 5—End Stage Renal Disease

CKD Stage 5 (ESRD)
Kidney failure and need for dialysis or transplant, eGFR of 15 or less

End stage renal disease (ESRD), or renal failure, is the end stage of kidney function—not the end stage of life. Also called stage 5 of CKD, ESRD indicates that both kidneys are no longer working sufficiently to keep your body healthy and chemically balanced. If you haven't already decided on an ESRD treatment with your doctor, it's time to make the decision together.

Possible signs and symptoms: 
Fatigue associated with anemia (low blood iron), decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abnormal lab values including elevated potassium, abnormalities in hormones related to bone health, elevated phosphorus and/or decreased calcium, high blood pressure (hypertension), swelling in hands/legs/eyes/lower back (sacrum) and shortness of breath.

Treatment goals: 

What you can do: 
  • Follow your kidney treatment exactly as prescribed, including receiving dialysis for the full recommended time and/or taking your medications.
  • Get to know your care team at your kidney dialysis center or meet with your at-home dialysis care team, depending on which method of dialysis you've chosen.
  • Commit to being an active participant in your kidney care. Only you can ensure that you follow your care plan and take the necessary steps to live your fullest life.
  • Get support and information from your social worker, as needed. He or she can provide advice and resources to help you adjust to living with ESRD—and thrive.
  • Find an in-person or online support group—your social worker can help you find one. Talking to people who are going through the same things you are can really help.

Which treatment option is right for you?

VIEW OUR TREATMENT DECISION GUIDE

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CONSIDER HOME DIALYSIS

At-home dialysis can offer greater scheduling flexibility, fewer restrictions and better outcomes.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BENEFITS

EATING WELL MATTERS

What you eat and drink can affect your kidney health at every stage of CKD—especially if you decide to go on dialysis at stage 5.
FIND ESRD RECIPES AND NUTRITION TIPS