To identify the extent of kidney damage, CKD is classified into 5 stages. These stages are measured by a patient’s GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate).
GFR is a blood test to measure the amount of creatinine in the blood. Creatinine is a normal waste product from the muscles that is filtered out through the kidneys. The lower the GFR, the less creatinine is filtered out. This means the kidneys are not functioning well enough to extract the creatinine.
Stages 1 and 2 are treated by your primary care provider. While you can’t reverse damage, in these stages it is possible to prevent further damage and maintain kidney function. Changes in lifestyle and diet along with regular checkups can help keep the kidneys from further deterioration.
Stages 3 – 5 are treated by a nephrologist, a specialist in kidney disease.