Know how to manage your kidney disease

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If you have kidney disease, the special moments in your life are still possible. There are steps you can take to manage your kidney disease and prevent kidney failure. To slow down damage to your kidneys, eat the right foods, take your medicines as your doctor tells you and work with your doctor.

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Know how well your kidneys are working

Kidney disease is divided into five stages. Each stage refers to how much damage there is to your kidneys, and how well your kidneys are working to filter waste and extra fluid out of your blood. As the stages go up in number, kidney disease gets worse and your kidneys work less well:

  • In the early stages (Stages 1 to 3), your kidneys are still able to filter waste out of your blood.
  • In the later stages (Stages 4 to 5), your kidneys must work harder to filter your blood and may stop working all together.
  • Stage 5 means you have kidney failure and you will need to go on dialysis or get a kidney transplant to live. Kidney failure is also known as end stage renal disease or ESRD.
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Your doctor may use the word "progression" to refer to kidney disease getting worse and moving to a later stage. Your doctor will talk with you about slowing down the damage to your kidneys to prevent you from moving to a later stage.

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Know your treatment options for kidney disease

If you have diabetes and kidney disease, there are medicines you can take that help you manage your diabetes and protect your kidneys. These medicines are called SGLT2 inhibitors, GLP1 receptor agonists and non-steroidal mineralocorticoid antagonists. Talk with your doctor to help you decide which treatment is best for you. Taking these medicines as your doctor prescribes can help slow down and prevent kidney failure.

If your kidneys fail, the only treatments are dialysis or a kidney transplant. 

Get tests to know your stage

To know your stage and how well your kidneys are working, your doctor will do blood and urine tests. Ask your doctor how often you need to have kidney tests.

Learn about the 5 stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD)

Learn about managing kidney disease

Talk with your doctor today about prevention and treatment.

Download a doctor discussion guide to learn how to talk with your doctor about kidney disease, including questions to ask about how to prevent or slow down kidney disease.

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