At this early stage, you may not feel any differently. There are no visible symptoms. You can’t feel your kidneys, and there is no pain associated with early stage CKD. It is likely that you learned that you had early stage CKD only because your doctor had ordered tests for something else, maybe diabetes or high blood pressure or heart disease.

Despite the fact that you can’t feel or see any changes to your kidneys it is important to understand that they are nonetheless working harder. Understanding what your kidneys do, and how CKD affects how they function is an important way for you to start making sense of your diagnosis and what it means for your life. In the Learning section of this program you will find information about the kidneys and how the onset of CKD affects their function.

Just as important to know is that there are many ways that you can actively make choices that will slow, and may even prevent how much your kidney disease progresses. The Choices section will show you how moving to a kidney-friendly diet, getting good exercise, and following your health care team’s instructions make a great start. Knowing how to avoid or break habits that can harm your kidneys, like smoking, will help you keep your kidneys in the best shape possible.

Here’s your chance to take a deep breath. There is a great deal of learning ahead, but the good news is that CKD progresses slowly, so you have time to absorb the news that is coming at you from your doctors – maybe a specialized kidney doctor, called a nephrologist, maybe a diabetes doctor, called an endocrinologist, maybe a heart doctor, called a cardiologist. More “ologists” than you thought you had parts of a body to worry about. In addition to the doctors, you may be getting information from nurses, social workers, and dietitians. That’s a lot of attention.

Click here for full screen version