Kidney disease has 5 stages or phases and it is precisely of them that we’ll talk about in this article, they are defined by the GFR (glomerular filtration rate), which is a process through which the blood is filtered by the kidneys eliminating wastes and extra fluids of the body.
The GFR is a calculation that defines how well the kidneys are running the filter action.
To calculate GFR, the formula used consider certain elements like: sex, age, race and serum creatinine levels.
So then, we the result of GFR is less than 60ml/min/1.73m2, it may indicate kidney disease. The lower the number of GFR, the worse renal function is.
Now, this result is only an approximation, and it is also possible that for some people is not the correct measurement, for example, young people or elderly people, when an amputation has been suffered or when being too obese.
In the majority of cases the GFR is possible to calculate it by a collection of urine for 24 hours. Chronic kidney disease is determined by a kidney damage or a GFR of less than 60 for a sustainable period of at least 3 months.
Stages of kidney disease
1st stage: kidney damage with normal or high GFR (90 or +)
At this stage the physician works to find the cause that is provoking kidney disease and then start the treatment.
There may also be some chronic disease such as diabetes or hypertension that is causing it and your doctor has to try to control it.
The signs and symptoms that can occur in this stage of kidney disease are: legs edema, urinary tract infections and hypertension.
2nd stage: kidney damage with GFR slightly low (60-89)
At this stage the doctor must calculate the speed with which disease is advancing, it is also possible to have to deal with other diseases that are causing it, and there should be a regular control.
The symptoms can be the same as in the first stage.
3rd stage: kidney damage with moderately low GFR (30-59)
In this phase the doctor must analyze if there are any complications such as anemia or bone disease and if necessary must start the right treatment.
Some symptoms and signs that may be present are: malnutrition, pain in the bones, tingling and/or numbness, decreased mental acuity, general discomfort.
4th stage: kidney damage with TFG critically low (15-29)
It is time that your doctor requested a decision on the treatment to be followed in order to not get kidney failure.
Some symptoms and signs that occur in this stage are: anemia, decreased appetite, diseases of the bones, level of phosphorus, calcium and vitamin D in abnormal values.
5th stage: kidney failure with less than 15 GFR
It’s time to start dialysis, do a kidney transplant or if the patient does not wish it must have at least palliative care.
Regarding the attention of palliative care we don’t refer to treatments from dialysis or transplant, palliative care is focused in basically treating pain and tension resulting in end-stage renal disease, and not a treatment to prolong life that would be the case of dialysis.
Choose this option of palliative care is not something simple, the person must be aware of all the details, the consequences and then decide.
It is also likely that even wanting a treatment of dialysis or transplantation, it can not get done, for many people it may not be a viable option, and there are certain factors that can make this happen, for example, religious beliefs, when there are others conditions, or simply by choice in terms of quality of life.
Here the signs and symptoms are emphasized and are: be breathless, nausea, vomiting, problems of the thyroid, swelling in legs, face, eyes, pain at lumbar level.
It is important and necessary to know that kidney disease, has no cure, but there are treatments that are helpful, then the importance of evidence on which a diagnosis and treatment can be stablish, is very high. It is likely that the disease can delay and the functioning of the kidneys can be maintained.
Chronic renal disease is perfectly manageable, a patient who is applied to carry an adequate treatment and who collaborates in everything that is needed to achieve it can live fully even with the disease.
There are people who manage to live many years with peritoneal dialysis and others with hemodialysis, basically what is needed is a total commitment to their own life, as practiced by the medical institutions and the staff that treats it.
You should not lose sight of the fact that the person who is most interested in following your normal life is yourself, therefore, there is no excuse or way to blame those around you for things that may or may not go wrong.
Focusing on having a positive attitude and facing the fact with determination can lead you on the right path, with quality of life and enjoying for a long time more of your family.
Currently dialysis treatments can be carried at home, so that the process is much more comfortable, it is nothing unusual, and the medical staff is perfectly able to teach you how to do the treatment.
That is why we say that much of living fully with a kidney disease is your responsibility, the commitment to take care of yourself is what will help to have a better quality of life even with chronic renal failure.
Leaning on loved ones is a great way to cope with the process, do not step away from your loved ones they also want to help as much as possible and if they realize that you are doing well, they can also feel good.