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Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease

About chronic kidney disease (CKD)

With chronic kidney disease, the kidneys don’t usually fail all at once. Instead, kidney disease often progresses slowly years. If caught early, medicines and lifestyle changes may help slow or prevent CKD progression.

Five stages of chronic kidney disease

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) divided kidney disease into five stages. This helps doctors provide the best care, as each stage calls for different tests and treatments.

Doctors determine the stage of kidney disease using the glomerular filtration rate (GFR), a math formula using a person's age, gender, and their serum creatinine level (identified through a blood test). Creatinine, a waste product that comes from muscle activity, is a key indicator of kidney function. When kidneys are working well they remove creatinine from the blood; but as kidney function slows, blood levels of creatinine rise.

Use the links below to learn about each stage of kidney disease:

Get more information on early and late stage kidney disease, including educational articles, support resources, and information on comorbidity management and treatment options.

Early Stage Kidney Disease (Stages 1-3)

Kidney Knowledge and Support 

Learn about questions to ask your doctor when you're new to kidney disease, medication management and how to choose a kidney doctor (nephrologist). 

7 Questions to Ask a Doctor

5 Things To Do if You've Just Been Diagnosed With Kidney Disease

5 Medication Management Tips

Working with a Nephrologist

Managing Other Medical Conditions (Comorbidities)

Medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and anemia are common among people with kidney disease. Learn about managing these comorbidities.

Maintaining Good Diabetes Control

Treating High Blood Pressure

Understand Kidney Disease and Your Heart

Managing Anemia and Chronic Kidney Disease

Late Stage Kidney Disease (Stages 4-5)

Kidney Knowledge and Support

Learn what happens in the body during kidney disease stages 4-5, how dialysis works, tips for making lifestyle adjustments and more.

Video: How Does Dialysis Work?

Choosing a Kidney Doctor

Prepare for Access Surgery

Lifestyle Changes on Dialysis

Treatment Options and Resources

Get to know all the options when it comes to treatment, insurance coverage and continuing to work while on dialysis.

Know Your Dialysis Choices

Video: 5 Reasons to Choose a Kidney Transplant

Find a Dialysis Center Near You

Insurance Coverage for Dialysis Guide

Booklets: Working While on Dialysis

3 Steps for People Who Work and Have Kidney Disease

Contact an Insurance Counselor

Diet and Exercise for All Stages of Kidney Disease

Whether you're in early or late stage kidney disease, there are steps to help feel your bestincluding following a kidney-friendly diet and exercising. See below for kidney-diet resources and exercise information.

Healthy Food Swaps for a Kidney Diet

Today's Kidney Diet Cookbooks from DaVita Dietitians

More Than 1,200 Kidney-Friendly Recipes

Kidney Diet Tips Blog

Exercise for People with Chronic Kidney Disease