In chronic kidney disease (CKD), kidney function doesn’t fail at once. The condition, in fact, progresses over time and through stages. The success of the treatment often depends on which stage chronic kidney disease is diagnosed at. For best outcomes and prevention of complications, the condition should be detected as early as possible.
Chronic kidney disease comes in five stages. To measure kidney function, glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is used. GFR number is calculated based on age, race, sex, and serum creatinine. A blood test is used to determine serum creatinine levels. Creatinine is a waste product of muscle activity. When the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, creatinine levels are higher as waste cannot be effectively removed.
Chronic kidney disease stages are as follows:
- Stage 1: normal or high GFR (GFR > 90 mL/min)
- Stage 2: mild CKD (GFR = 60-89 mL/min)
- Stage 3A: moderate CKD (GFR = 45-59 mL/min)
- Stage 3B: moderate CKD (GFR = 30-44 mL/min)
- Stage 4: severe CKD (GFR = 15-29 mL/min)
- Stage 5: end-stage CKD (GFR
Stage 3 CKD risk factors
For properly managing chronic kidney disease at stage 3, it’s important to identify a patient’s risk factors. Disease management can be more successful when these associated risks are reduced. For example, stage 3 CKD patients face a higher risk of cardiovascular events. Monitor proteinuria, hematuria, and declining GFR is also important as all these factors can indicate that CKD is progressing. By keeping a close eye on these risk factors, doctors can implement treatment options to prevent further progression of CKD, or at least slow it down.
How is stage 3 chronic kidney disease diagnosed?
To properly diagnose stage 3 chronic kidney disease, the doctor will have to perform a clinical assessment to check for other comorbid conditions, a medication review checking for any drugs that are toxic to the kidneys, a urine test to check for proteinuria or hematuria, and imaging tests to determine if an obstruction is present in the urinary system.
Tips to prevent stage 3 CKD
There are three ways to prevent stage 3 CKD: Eat a kidney-friendly diet, use your prescribe medications, and exercise (and stop smoking if you are a smoker).
A kidney-friendly diet consists of eating the right amount of calories. Some patients may need to reduce their caloric intake, especially if they are overweight. Patients will also need to cut back on phosphorus-rich foods, because the kidneys’ ability to process these foods becomes challenging. Examples include milk, nuts, ice cream, cheese, chocolate, and seeds.
You will also need to avoid high-potassium foods such as bananas, avocados, potatoes, nuts, tomatoes, honeydew, and legumes, and work with a dietician to work out an appropriate amount of potassium to consume. Protein should also come from good sources and be consumed in the right amount. Be mindful of sources of protein that contain potassium and phosphorus. You should also make sure you are consuming enough fat, eating high-quality carbs, getting in enough vitamins, and watching your portions.
Your doctor can prescribe medications to manage your stage 3 chronic kidney disease as well as medications to control risk factors such as blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
Lastly, regular exercise along with not smoking is also important for preventing progression of stage 3 CKD. Smoking is particularly harmful for your kidneys, so if you are a smoker work with your doctor to quit. Moderate exercise should be performed at least five times a week and can consist of walking, jogging, swimming, bike riding, or other activities you enjoy.