Doctors divide Chronic Kidney Disease into 5 stages. In Stage 1, the earliest stage, your kidneys may be normal, or there may be some suspicion of early damage. Still, your kidneys' ability to clear wastes and balance fluid is fairly normal. 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. In fact, CKD patients in Stages 1 and 2 often do not have any outward symptoms. Instead, 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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