CKD is the gradual and irreversible loss of kidney function over time. It cannot be cured, but it can be slowed and treated.

When working normally, your kidneys act as efficient filters, and you will have no signs of blood or protein in your urine. Many factors including getting older can decrease your kidneys' filtering ability, and CKD is diagnosed if your kidney function is permanently decreased. CKD has five stages: in 1-4, the focus is on preserving kidney function, while by stage 5, dialysis or a transplant is necessary.

 Stages 1-2 - you may have no symptoms

Some people have no symptoms, while others may have been diagnosed and offered medication. Your blood pressure must be regularly monitored and adequately controlled and if you have diabetes you must ensure your blood sugar is regularly monitored and kept as stable as possible.

Stage 3 - it is important to take action 

By stage 3, your kidney function will have fallen to between 30 and 60 percent of full capacity and you should have a thorough and regular medical review. It is vital to do everything possible to slow disease progress, thus preventing stages 4-5.

By stage 3, you are likely to be prescribed several drugs, and often a diet and exercise programme. The possibility of dialysis or a kidney transplant should also be considered, and you may be recommended to have surgery so that your veins are accessible and ready for dialysis when this is needed.


Stages 4-5 - your kidneys can no longer do their job 

Kidney failure occurs when kidney function is at 15 percent of normal or below, and you may have a dangerous build-up of waste and water in your blood. Dialysis or a kidney transplant is now essential.


Related content

About the kidneys
The main tasks of your kidneys are to filter waste substances and balance the levels of salts and water in your body
Kidney failure
Two of the most common factors for kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure
Living with CKD
Loss of renal function and the dependence on dialysis, lead to life changes