Doctors divide chronic kidney disease into 5 stages. In Stage 1, the earliest stage, your kidneys have some damage, but may still have normal function or show signs of early damage. Still, your kidneys’ ability to clear wastes and balance fluid is at an acceptable level. Stage 5 corresponds to kidney failure, a stage at which dialysis or kidney transplant is required to live.

Your doctor will tell you your CKD stage, as it is an important part of determining your treatment and planning for the future.

The stages are not based on symptoms alone. The stages reflect how fast the kidneys eliminate waste from the blood by a lab test for kidney function known as glomerular filtration rate or GFR. Determining your GFR requires a simple blood test. 

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