Chronic Kidney Disease

Understanding Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is an important first step to helping manage your health. This section on our website is dedicated to helping you learn about the early stages of kidney disease.

Causes of Kidney Disease
In the United States, the two leading causes of kidney disease are diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure). It’s important to manage these conditions; lifestyle modifications and/or medication may help – be sure to work with you physician and monitor your diabetes/hypertension. Proper management may help to slow or stop the progression of kidney disease.

Other Causes of Kidney Disease:

  • Acute Kidney Injury
  • Altered Creatinine Metabolism
  • Dehydration
  • Heart Disease/Failure
  • Medications
  • Infection
  • Obesity
  • Urinary Tract Obstruction (Kidney Stones)

Common Cause of Acute Kidney Injury

  • Recent iodinated contrast study (more common in patients with cardiovascular disease)
  • Surgery/Trauma – complicated recovery
  • Infections
  • Medications

Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is the best way for a doctor to measure a person’s kidney function. The GFR is the number used by healthcare teams to figure out a person’s stage of kidney disease. A math formula using the person’s age, race, gender and their serum creatinine is used to calculate a GFR.

*GFR calculator reference: National Institute of Health, NIDDK.

CKD Stage 3 or 4 is a good time to learn more about your treatment options.  Ask your healthcare provider to help you with this.  They can help you decide the type of treatment that will be the best for you.  You and your healthcare team can work together to slow down the progression of CKD.      

 What are the treatment options for kidney failure? 

There are four types of treatment:

  • Hemodialysis (HD)
  • Peritoneal dialysis (PD)
  • Kidney transplant
  • Medical management

Below are the five stages of CKD:

  • Stage 1 with normal or high GFR (GFR > 90 mL/min)
  • Stage 2 Mild CKD (GFR = 60-89 mL/min)
  • Stage 3 A Moderate CKD (GFR = 45-59 mL/min)
  • Stage 3 B Moderate CKD (GFR = 30-44 mL/min)
  • Stage 4 Severe CKD (GFR = 15-29 mL/min)
  • Stage 5 End Stage CKD (GFR <15 mL/min)

AAKP's Top Resources on CKD/Non-Dialysis education

iChoose Kidney Risk Calculator*

The iChoose Kidney risk calculator is a tool that educates patients about the risk of available treatment options for kidney disease. This tool shows estimated risks of patient survival (probability of staying alive) and mortality (probability of dying) with different treatment options (dialysis or transplant)given the patient's demographic and clinical history at dialysis start. 

My Dialysis Choice*

If you kidneys fail, dialysis can save your life. But, dialysis is not just a medical treatment. It can also affect every aspect of your lifestyle. This online tool will help you choose the right treatment for you, so you feel your best and live the way you want to.

*iChoose Kidney Risk Calculator is an online application tool created by a team of researchers at Emory University, funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number ULl TR000454 and KL2TR000455, and further supported through a grant from the Carlos and Marguerite Mason Trust Foundation (Emory University).

*My Dialysis Choice is an online application tool created by the non-profit Medical Education Institute.

This AAKP patient education web page is supported by an educational donation by  Bayer Pharmaceuticals. The educational content shown is unbranded and unbiased and has not been determined or influenced by any sponsor(s). It’s intended for educational purposes only.

Learn more about kidney disease from fellow patients, healthcare professionals, and the renal community by reading these articles produced for AAKP.
Educational Brochures and Resources
AAKP offers a variety of educational resources for people living with kidney disease and their care partners.
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HealthLine Webinars
The AAKP HealthLine is a webinar-based program educates patients and their family members on a variety of important health care topics from the comfort of their home or office.