Kidney Disease 101

Kidney Disease 101

Kidney disease affects one in seven Americans—you’re not alone.1

Learn the basics of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and take steps toward living a kidney-friendly lifestyle.

Kidney disease affects one in seven Americans—you’re not alone1.

Learn the basics of chronic kidney disease and take steps toward living a kidney-friendly lifestyle.

Ivonne, DaVita patient

Ivonne, DaVita patient

Kidney Disease 101

Kidney disease affects one in seven Americans—you’re not alone1.

Learn the basics of chronic kidney disease and take steps toward living a kidney-friendly lifestyle.

What is chronic kidney disease?

A kidney’s job is to filter waste, balance your body’s fluid content, produce hormones, control your blood pressure, produce urine and keep your bones strong.
 

If you have CKD, your kidneys lose their ability to function and cannot effectively remove waste from your body.

What is kidney disease?

One in three American adults is at risk for kidney disease.2

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Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of kidney disease.3

Women are more likely than men to be affected by kidney disease.4

How did I develop kidney disease?

Learning about the root causes of kidney disease can help you get the right treatment and potentially preserve remaining kidney function. Are you affected by any of the conditions below?

Diabetes

Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney disease, responsible for 44% of all kidney failure cases.5

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) is the second leading cause of CKD, accountable for 29% of all kidney failure cases.6

Genetic Diseases

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD), autoimmune diseases, birth defects and other genetic diseases can cause CKD.

Glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis is a disease in which the kidney becomes inflamed and damaged.

Glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis is a disease in which the kidney becomes inflamed and damaged.

Are you at risk for developing CKD?

Find out if may be at risk for developing CKD by taking the Kidney Disease Risk Quiz.

Take the Risk Quiz

How do I know the stage of my CKD?

Medical professionals determine the stage of your kidney disease by measuring your glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which shows the amount of creatinine (toxin) in your blood.

 

When kidneys are functioning properly, they remove creatinine from the blood. As kidney function slows, blood levels of creatinine rise.

What is kidney disease?
There are five stages of chronic kidney disease:

STAGE 1 with normal or high GFR

(GFR > 90 mL/min)

Because kidneys can do their job even when they’re not functioning at 100 percent, you may not know you have stage 1 CKD.

STAGE 2 Mild CKD

(GFR = 60-89 mL/min)

In stage 2, there are usually no symptoms to indicate the kidneys are damaged. You may find out about your kidney disease while being tested for another condition.

STAGE 3A Moderate CKD

(GFR = 45-59 mL/min)

STAGE 3B Moderate CKD

(GFR = 30-44 mL/min)

In stage 3, you are more likely to develop complications of kidney disease such as high blood pressure, anemia and/or early bone disease.

STAGE 4 Severe CKD

(GFR = 15-29 mL/min)

If you have stage 4 CKD, you have severe kidney damage and it is likely you will need to seek treatment soon. Use the DaVita Treatment Evaluator to find a treatment option that works for you.

STAGE 5 End Stage CKD

(GFR < 15 mL/min)

Stage 5 is considered end stage renal disease (ESRD), where the kidneys have lost nearly all their ability to function effectively. Treatment is necessary at stage 5. Learn about your treatment options and find one that works for you with DaVita Treatment Evaluator.

What stage are you in?

Calculate your glomerular filtration rate (GFR) to help you determine which stage of kidney disease you're currently in.

GFR CALCULATOR

Jerald, DaVita patient

Can I slow the progression of my kidney disease?

Kidney disease usually occurs gradually over time, so finding out early that you have CKD is most beneficial to your health. Regardless of what stage you’re in, there are habits you can adopt that may help slow the progression of kidney disease, including:

Control Your Blood Pressure

Control Your Blood Pressure

CONTROL YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE
Exercise, quit smoking or take medication (as prescribed by your doctor).

Monitor Your Blood Glucose

Monitor Your Blood Glucose

MONITOR YOUR BLOOD GLUCOSE
For people with diabetes, take medication as prescribed, use insulin injections, and follow the diet and exercise plan prescribed by your doctor.

Maintain a Healthy Kidney Diet & Lifestyle

Maintain a Healthy Kidney Diet & Lifestyle

MAINTAIN A HEALTHY KIDNEY DIET & LIFESTYLE
Develop an exercise routine and follow a kidney-friendly diet. Learn more about diet and nutrition.

What's next?

Now that you know the basics, take these steps to learning more about kidney health.

Connect with Others

Use myDaVita to connect with patients, care partners and kidney care specialists for support.

Get Started

Take a Kidney Smart® Class

Have questions about kidney disease? Get them answered at a no-cost kidney education class.

Find a Class

Talk to a Nephrologist

Be proactive about your kidney health and talk with your doctor about CKD.

Learn More

©2017 DaVita Inc.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis from a physician.

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