The Stages of
Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is divided into 5 stages based on levels of kidney function. Your CKD stage is determined by calculating your estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR)—which is a measurement of how well your kidneys are cleaning your blood. The goal at each of the CKD stages is to take the best care and control of your health, so you can help slow the progression of CKD and keep your kidneys working as long as possible.

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5 STAGES OF KIDNEY DISEASE

Stage 1 CKD: Mild kidney damage, eGFR 90 or higher 
Stage 2 CKD: Mild loss of kidney function, eGFR 60-89 
Stage 3a & 3b CKD: Mild to severe loss of kidney function, eGFR 30-59 
Stage 4 CKD: Severe loss of kidney function, eG FR 15-29 
Stage 5 CKD: Kidney failure or close to failure, eGFR less than 15

Kidney disease is a progressive disease, meaning that your kidney function may decline over time. However, being diagnosed with early stage CKD doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll progress to later stages. Getting tested and knowing your CKD stage can help you work with your doctor to protect your kidney health.

Understanding the CKD stages

Stage 1 | eGFR 90 or higher What it means:
  • Kidney damage with normal kidney function
Possible signs and symptoms:
  • High blood pressure, swelling in legs, urinary tract infections, abnormal urine test
What you can do:
  • See your doctor regularly to monitor your health, ask questions, and report any unusual or unexplained symptoms. Be sure to ask about your current eGFR.
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices: eat well, quit smoking, exercise, reduce stress, and get enough sleep.
  • Take all medications as directed and ask your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications.
Stage 1
Stage 2 | eGFR 60–89 What it means:
  • Mild loss of kidney function
Possible signs and symptoms:
  • High blood pressure, swelling in legs, urinary tract infections, abnormal urine test
What you can do:
  • See your doctor regularly to monitor your health, ask questions, and report any unusual or unexplained symptoms. Be sure to ask about your current eGFR.
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices: eat well, quit smoking, exercise, reduce stress, and get enough sleep.
  • Take all medications as directed and ask your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications.
Stage 2

WHY YOU NEED A KIDNEY DOCTOR

A nephrologist, also known as a kidney doctor, is the most qualified doctor to help you manage kidney disease. Ask your doctor for a referral to a nephrologist when your eGFR is between 30-44.
Learn More
Stage 3A | eGFR 45-59 What it means:
  • Mild to moderate loss of kidney function
Possible signs and symptoms:
  • Changes in urination, swelling in hands and feet, weakness or fatigue, dry and itchy skin, back pain, muscle cramping
What you can do:
  • See your doctor to discuss any changes in your lab values or symptoms you may be experiencing.
  • Meet with a renal dietitian to address any nutrition concerns and to learn about eating well. Explore some kidney-friendly recipes.
Stage 3B | eGFR 30-44 What it means:
  • Moderate to severe loss of kidney function
Possible signs and symptoms:
  • Changes in urination, swelling in hands and feet, weakness or fatigue, dry and itchy skin, back pain, muscle cramping
What you can do:
  • See your doctor to discuss any changes in your lab values or symptoms you may be experiencing.
  • Ask your doctor about a referral to see a kidney doctor (nephrologist) and continue working to slow CKD progression by managing your health.
Stage 3
Learn more about living well with CKD and how to slow CKD progression.
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Stage 4 | eGFR 15-29 What it means:
  • Severe loss of kidney function
Possible signs and symptoms:
  • Anemia, decreased appetite, bone disease, abnormal levels of phosphorus, calcium, vitamin D
What you can do:
  • Follow the steps outlined in previous stages to take the best care and control of your health.
  • Continue to see your doctor regularly for any new symptoms or changes in existing conditions.
  • Talk with your dietitian about a kidney-friendly diet to help keep your kidneys working longer.
  • Talk with your kidney doctor (nephrologist) to determine which treatment option best fits your lifestyle. Ask about a kidney transplant.
  • Choose an access type and take the first steps toward getting your access placed.
  • Start building your support network by reaching out to people who care about you and can encourage you.

Stage 4
Stage 5 | eGFR less than 15 What it means:
  • Kidney failure or close to failure
Possible signs and symptoms:
  • Uremia, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, abnormal thyroid levels, swelling in hands/legs/eyes/lower back, lower back pain
What you can do:
  • Follow the steps outlined in previous stages to take the best care and control of your health.
  • Meet with your insurance coordinator to understand your insurance coverage options.
  • See your kidney doctor (nephrologist) regularly to monitor progression.
  • If you’ve chosen home dialysis, prepare your treatment space and learn what to expect from training.
  • If you’ve chosen in-center dialysis, tour a local dialysis center and get answers to your questions.
  • Learn all you can about thriving on dialysis and keep up an active lifestyle. If you’re working, find out about your rights and how to handle work and treatment.
Stage 5

Knowing your GFR and taking action

Being aware of your GFR and what stage of kidney disease you’re in will help determine your care plan. Each person experiences kidney disease differently and the amount of time spent in the CKD stages can vary. Getting an early CKD diagnosis and taking early action is important. To help slow progression, start working with your doctor and taking steps to look after your health as soon as possible. Meeting regularly with your doctor to monitor your health can help you take control of your choices and do everything you can to manage your kidney health—so you can feel your best.

USE OUR GFR CALCULATOR

Estimate your GFR to determine your current CKD stage. You'll need results from a simple GFR blood test to get started.

CALCULATE YOUR eGFR


















PLANNING AHEAD FOR TREATMENT

There are several options to consider for treating ESRD. Learn all you can so you can choose the option that best fits your lifestyle.
TREATMENT FACTORS TO CONSIDER