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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is at risk for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?
Anyone can get CKD but your risk is higher if you:

What are the symptoms of CKD?
Most patients have no symptoms until they have severe loss of kidney function, generally less than 10-20% of normal. Symptoms may be vague and nonspecific and may include:

What are some common causes of kidney disease or damage and how are they treated?

How do you test kidney function?
A blood test called the Creatinine is the most common lab test used to indicate kidney function. Creatinine in the body is mostly made in muscles and is typically in the blood in very small and stable amounts throughout a lifetime. The creatinine rises when kidneys do not clean the blood well and therefore it can be used as an indicator of kidney function. The creatinine indicates the total function of both kidnenys.

Creatinines vary depending on sex (men typically have more muscle mass than women), age (we typically lose muscle mass as we age), race (certain races are known to have more muscle mass in general than others), and may change with weight gain or loss or with changes in exercise/activity level. Therefore an individual's creatinine must be interpreted taking these factors into account and a "normal creatinine " for one person may not be normal for another person. Another test called the GFR is calculated using the creatinine and takes into account age, sex and ethnic background. The GFR can be thought of as percent (%) of normal kidney cleaning. Thus a GFR of 50, represents 50% of normal kidney cleaning.

What are some other common kidney tests?

What are the stages of Kidney disease?
There are five stages of kidney disease, defined by the level of kidney cleaning (or GFR):