Chronic kidney failure stages are ranked from stage 1 to stage 5. If you have chronic kidney failure, your kidneys are slowly losing their ability to remove wastes and excess water from your blood. The condition is progressive meaning it gets worse over time. However, you can live with the condition for years before symptoms are seen.
The condition is also referred to as chronic kidney disease or chronic renal failure and affects approximately 2 out of 1,000 people in the United States. It is typically the result of other diseases and disorders that damage the kidneys. Diabetes and high blood pressure are two conditions that can lead to this chronic kidney disease.
There is no cure for the disease, however, if diagnosed in one of the early stages, medications and diet and lifestyle changes can help slow the progression of the disease.
Chronic Kidney Failure Stages
The National Kidney Foundation set 5 chronic kidney failure stages to determine the severity of the disease. The chronic kidney failure stages are based on the GFR level (glomerular filtration rate), which is a measurement of how quickly your kidneys are able to clean your blood. If your kidneys are healthy and functioning normally, your GFR level will be 90 mL/min or greater.
Normal = Healthy Kidneys with a GFR level of 90 mL/min or greater
Stage 1 = Kidney damage but normal or high GFR of 90 mL/min or greater
Stage 2 = Mildly decreased GFR of 60 to 89 mL/min
Stage 3 = Moderately decreased GFR of 30 to 59 mL/min
Stage 4 = Severely decreased GFR of 15 to 29 mL/min
Stage 5 = Kidney failure or dialysis. GFR of Less than 15 mL/min
In stages 1 and 2, there may be no noticeable symptoms. In these chronic kidney failure stages, the disease is usually diagnosed through lab tests that detect associated conditions such as high blood pressure, higher than normal levels of creatinine or urea in the blood, blood or protein in the urine, or evidence of kidney damage (i.e. MRI, CT scan, Ultrasound, contrast X-ray).
In stage 3, you may develop anemia and/or signs of an early bone disorder.
In stage 4, your kidneys are losing the ability to properly remove waste products and excess water from your body and you will need to prepare for dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant.
Stage 5 is also called end stage kidney disease, or end stage renal disease (ESRD). In this stage there is a complete or near complete loss of kidney function. Your body accumulates wastes, water, and toxic substances because the kidneys are unable to clear them from the body. In this stage you will likely need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive.
Chronic Kidney Failure Stages and Prognosis
Chronic kidney disease is progressive and there is no known cure for the disease. Most cases will progress to later stages and require dialysis or a transplant.
If you undergo dialysis, you have an overall five year survival rate of 32 percent. If you receive a kidney transplant, you have a two year survival rate of approximately 90 percent depending on your donor.