What Are the Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease?

Reprinted with permission from DaVita, Inc.

There are 5 stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD). The glomerular filtration rate (GFR) indicates a person's stage of chronic kidney disease. Determining the stage of kidney disease is the first step toward creating a plan of care.

Kidneys are organs whose function is critical to the health of your body. Your kidneys filter your blood, removing waste and unneeded fluid. But that's not all the kidneys do. They also produce certain hormones that help other organs function properly. And they maintain a complex balance of acid, potassium and salt in your body.

Chronic kidney disease occurs when kidneys lose their ability to work properly, sometimes due to chronic high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, genetic disease or other reasons. There are 5 stages of chronic kidney disease, as shown in the chart below.

Stage Description GFR Symptoms
Treatment/Next Steps
Kidney damage with normal or elevated GFR. Kidneys are minimally damaged and still clean the blood normally. More than 90 mL/min Usually none Diagnosis and treatment of CKD. Treatment of accompanying conditions. Reducing risk of CKD/slowing its progression.
2 Kidney damage with some decrease in GFR. Kidneys are not functioning normally. 60 to 89 mL/min Usually none Estimating and slowing progression.
3 (moderate) Moderate decrease in GFR. Kidneys are damaged and are half way to failure. 30 to 59 mL/min Usually none Evaluating and treating complications and slowing progression.
4 (severe) Severe decrease in GFR. Kidneys are near failure. 15 to 29 mL/min There may be swelling and nausea. Preparation for dialysis and/or transplant.
5 Kidney failure – dialysis required. Less than 15 mL/min There may be swelling, nausea or shortness of breath. Dialysis is necessary. Kidney transplant possible.



Diagnosis and Symptoms of CKD

Often in the early stages of kidney disease, there are few or no symptoms.

By Stage 3, an individual may develop anemia (insufficient number of red blood cells), the beginnings of bone disease or both. These conditions require treatment to improve well-being and prevent future complications.

People with Stage 4 kidney disease must begin planning for dialysis and/or a kidney transplant.

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Last Modified Date: July 18, 2014

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by Carey Potash
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