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Chronic Kidney Disease - Defining The Stages!

Written and reviewed by
Dr.Shalabh Agrawal 92% (275ratings)
Chronic Kidney Disease - Defining The Stages!

The kidneys are bean-shaped organs located on either side of the spine behind the abdominal organs. Their main function is the removal of wastes from the body. On any given day, the kidneys filter out about 200 litres of blood and remove the toxins from the body via water.

In addition to this, the kidneys also produce hormones which help in vitamin D regulation and blood pressure control. Also, the red blood cell production in the bone marrow is promoted by the kidneys.

Due to ageing or injury, the kidneys can get damaged which can deeply affect their function. Chronic kidney disease is caused by damage to the kidneys that occurs over months to years. The normal rate of filtration of the kidneys is known as glomerular filtration rate (GFR), and the normal value is about 90.

Lower the GFR, greater the severity of the kidney disease, as below

  1. Stage I – Slight kidney damage reduction of about 90
  2. Stage II – Mild kidney damage with GFR in the range of 60 to 90
  3. Stage III – Moderate kidney damage with GFR between 30 and 60
  4. Stage IV – Severe kidney damage with GFR between 15 and 30
  5. Stage V – Kidney failure which often requires dialysis.

GFR is calculated using a formula that includes a person’s age, gender, race, and serum creatinine levels. Once kidney damage onsets, it may take years for progression. The sooner it is identified, the better is the prognosis.

Older age, feminine gender, diabetes, hypertension, smoking, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney problems like polycystic disease, and recurrent kidney infections are some risk factors for developing chronic kidney disease.

Kidney damage can occur for a long time before the symptoms become evident. Also, if one kidney is affected by the loss of function, the other kidney often will compensate by taking the additional load. Over a period of time though, given that it has various functions, different symptoms will manifest. Common ones include:

  • Increased frequency of urination, especially at night
  • Increased fluid retention in the body, leading to puffiness of the ankles and eyes
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased fluid accumulation in the lungs, leading to shortness of breath, even with minimal exertion
  • Fluid around the heart leading to chest pain
  • Reduced red blood cell production, leading to anemia
  • Weak bones, due to vitamin D deficiency, leading to bone pain and even fractures
  • Generalized weakness and lethargy
  • Increased blood pressure

In a person who has likely risk factors, these symptoms should be watched for. Early detection helps in arresting disease progression and reduced treatment interventions.

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