Who’s at Risk
for Chronic
Kidney Disease

15% of adults in the US have chronic kidney disease (CKD)—though most don’t realize it. One challenge in detecting CKD is that there are virtually no kidney disease symptoms until later stages, when kidney damage has already occurred. Know your risk factors, learn the symptoms and get tested for CKD—especially if you have one of the known causes, like diabetes or high blood pressure.

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Diagnosis and Testing for Chronic Kidney Disease

Timely testing is key to early detection of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Taking action at an early stage of CKD can help keep your kidneys working longer and delay the need for dialysis. 

If you’ve been diagnosed with CKD, you will also be tested regularly to track any progression in your condition. Make testing a priority! The more you and your doctor know, the better care you can receive. 

What GFR values mean in CKD

Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is a test that estimates how well your kidneys are functioning in order to determine your stage of chronic kidney disease. Your estimated GFR (eGFR) is calculated from the results of your serum creatinine blood test, using age, weight, body size and gender.

Stage eGFR value Possible clinical symptoms associated with CKD
Stage 1 – Kidney damage with normal kidney function From 90-120 High blood pressure, urinary tract infections, abnormal urinalysis
Stage 2 – Kidney damage with mild loss of kidney function From 60–89 High blood pressure, urinary tract infections, abnormal urinalysis
Stage 3a – Mild to moderate loss of kidney function From 45–59 High blood pressure, urinary tract infections, abnormal urinalysis
Stage 3b – Moderate to severe loss of kidney function From 30–44 Low blood count, malnutrition, bone pain, abnormal nerve sensations, reduced mental functioning, feeling unwell
Stage 4 – Severe loss of kidney function From 15–29 Swelling, anemia, decreased appetite and other lab abnormalities
Stage 5 – Kidney failure, also known as end stage renal disease (ESRD) Less than 15 Shortness of breath, decreased appetite, fatigue, mental slowing and lab abnormalities


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Additional tests for assessing CKD

What it measures How it’s performed What results mean
Albuminuria-to-creatinine ratio (ACR) Measures a type of protein called albumin in the urine Spot urine sample test 30 mg/gm or less = normal

Higher than 30 mg/gm = a possible sign of kidney disease
Blood pressure Presence of high blood pressure (hypertension), a leading cause of kidney disease In the doctor’s office with an inflatable cuff, pressure gauge and stethoscope High blood pressure may indicate elevated risk of CKD and requires further diagnostic testing
Serum creatinine Levels of creatinine, a waste product from normal muscle use Blood analysis Serum creatinine results of greater than 1.2 for women or greater than 1.4 for men = early sign that kidneys are not working properly
Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) Levels of urea nitrogen from the breakdown of protein in food eaten Blood analysis BUN levels of 7-19 = normal

BUN levels of 20 or greater may be an indication of decreasing kidney function (or dehydration)
Your doctor may perform other tests, including a kidney biopsy, ultrasound imaging or CT scan.

Who should get tested for CKD?

Be your own advocate! If you have risk factors like diabetes or high blood pressure, or have a family history of kidney failure, you should talk to your doctor and get tested for CKD at least once a year. CKD should be treated as early as possible to slow progression. If you are diagnosed with CKD, work together with your doctor to protect your kidneys—you will need to get certain tests on a regular basis to monitor your ongoing kidney health.
the importance of testing for CKD

The importance of testing

Getting tested to check your kidney health is critical to your current and future well-being. Whether you and your doctor are seeking a diagnosis—or monitoring how well your treatment plan is working—acting early is always best. For CKD, the sooner your doctor can confirm a diagnosis, the earlier you can get started on an effective treatment plan to help preserve kidney function and slow progression.