Stage 1 of chronic kidney disease CKD: Causes, symptoms and treatment
What is Stage 1 CKD?
In Stage 1 CKD, the damage to your kidneys is mild. Your kidneys are still working well, but you may have signs of kidney damage or physical damage to your kidneys.
Stage 1 CKD means you have a normal estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) of 90 or greater, but there is protein in your urine (i.e., your pee). The presence of protein alone means you are in Stage 1 CKD.
Causes, symptoms and treatment
What are the symptoms of stage 1 CKD?
Most people with Stage 1 CKD do not have any symptoms that affect their health, which is why many people do not know they have it. However, there are some signs of Stage 1 CKD people may notice themselves, or that doctors may notice when testing for kidney damage or other health conditions.
Signs and symptoms of Stage 1 CKD include:
- High blood pressure
- Swelling in your hands or feet
- Urinary tract infections
- Protein in your urine
- Blood in your urine (also called hematuria)
- Kidney damage that shows up in an ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, or kidney biopsy
At stage 1 CKD, you may not notice any effects on your health. While the damage to your kidneys may not be reversible, there is a lot you can do at this stage to keep your kidneys working well for as long as possible.
How can doctors tell if I have CKD?
Many people with Stage 1 CKD do not have any symptoms. However, if you have a family history of kidney disease, or a health condition that can damage your kidneys, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, your doctor may test the health of your kidneys.
To find out if you have CKD, doctors will do tests, such as:
- Urine tests
- eGFR blood tests
- Blood pressure checks
- Imaging tests to take detailed pictures of the inside of your body, such as ultrasound, CT scan or MRI
How do doctors treat stage 1 CKD?
At Stage 1 CKD, doctors mostly focus on slowing down kidney damage and keeping your kidneys working well for as long as possible.
Doctors will work with you to:
- Control your blood sugar if you have diabetes.
- Keep your blood pressure in a healthy range (less than 120/80 millimetres of mercury, or mm HG, is best).
- Decide if you should start or stop any medicines to help protect your kidneys.
If you do not have a nephrologist (kidney doctor), talk to your regular doctor about finding one. You and your nephrologist can work together to make a treatment plan just for you.
How can I slow down the damage to my kidneys?
At Stage 1 CKD, there is a lot you can do to help keep your kidneys working well for as long as possible. Here are some healthy life changes you can make:
- Eat a kidney-friendly diet. A dietitian is a nutrition expert who can look at results from your lab tests and help you plan healthy meals and snacks you'll want to eat — your "kidney diet."
- Be active for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. This can be anything from walking or riding a bike to swimming or dancing.
- Keep a healthy weight. Talk with your doctor about what a healthy weight is for you.
- Quit smoking or using tobacco.
Keeping the memory alive
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"I wanted to do something to honor my mom, and loved that my fundraiser could help kids with kidney disease go to summer camp." -Jose Ortiz, KidneyNation fundraiser
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