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Kidney Disease Life Expectancy: The 5 Stages

Last updated: Dec 13, 2021 Post in Nephrology in Brooklyn by Century Medical & Dental Clinic.

Chronic kidney disease is a critical condition that means lasting damage to the kidneys that cannot be reversed. It can turn life-threatening if the damage to your kidneys is grave, and they may even stop working. It can reduce your life expectancy and also affect your quality of life. Consult experienced and board-certified nephrologists at the Century Medical and Dental Center to get expert advice if you are at high risk of kidney failure or suspect something wrong. The specialist doctors accurately diagnose your condition, the stage of kidney damage and recommend dialysis or kidney transplant depending on the phase of the disease to help you live better and increase your life expectancy.

Kidney diseases can reduce life expectancy considering the severity of the problem, the inability to grasp the gravity of the situation, and many other factors. Age and sex play a significant role along with the stage of the disease and allow the doctors to help patients with a prognosis, diagnosis, and treatment.

It is also important to remember that every person is different. With their unique genetics, current health conditions, mental issues, and reactions, it becomes difficult for doctors to estimate life expectancy, especially in something as critical as kidney disease. Life expectancy estimates do not make any guarantees. They may only provide you with a general outlook.

Understanding the stages of kidney disease gives you a better idea of what to expect and how to take good care of yourself to stop further damage to your kidneys.

The Stages of Kidney Disease

The stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD) refer to how well your kidneys are working or the extent of damage they have suffered. Kidney disease can worsen with time if it is not cared for properly.

In the early stages, from stages 1 to 3, the kidneys continue to filter the waste out of the blood. In the later stages, 4 and 5, the kidneys need to work harder to filter the blood, and in severe cases, they may stop working altogether. Each phase is determined by measuring the glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which checks how well the kidneys are doing.

The goal of healthcare providers at each stage of kidney disease is to work carefully and slow down the damage to the kidneys to ensure they keep on functioning for as long as possible.
Kidney Disease

Stage 1 – Early Warnings

Stage 1 CKD means your kidney is mildly damaged. It indicates a normal eGRF of 90 or greater. At this stage, your kidneys are healthy and working well, but you may face some problems. Signs of kidney damage could be the presence of protein in your urine or physical damage to your organs. At this stage, kidney damage can be caught and even reversed before it causes any significant damage.

Some effective ways to slow down kidney damage in stage 1 disease includes:

  • Controlling your blood sugar if you are diabetic
  • Controlling your blood pressure
  • Eating a healthy diet or a kidney-friendly diet
  • Giving up smoking or tobacco
  • Staying active
  • Keeping a healthy weight
  • Asking your doctor for any medications or supplements to support kidney health
  • Visiting a nephrologist for better advice on protecting your kidneys

Stage 2 – Mild kidney damage

Stage 2 CKD indicates you have mild kidney damage and an eGFR between 60 and 89. It means your kidneys are still working well. However, healthcare experts believe that even if your eGFR is normal, it means you have other warning signs of kidney damage, and they are not to be taken lightly.

You can take good care of yourself in stage 2 CKD in the following ways:

  • Keeping an eye on your rising blood sugar levels
  • Maintaining your blood pressure levels
  • Including kidney-friendly foods in your diet
  • Giving up smoking and tobacco usage
  • Incorporating exercise into your daily routine
  • Shedding the excessive pounds
  • Staying connected with your primary care doctor and nephrologist to know more about managing your kidney problems

Stage 3 – Kidney damage

Stage 3 CKD means you have an eGFR between 30 and 59. It means your kidneys have suffered some damage, and they are not working as well as they should be.

Stage 3 is divided into two stages:

  • Stage 3a means you have an eGFR between 45 and 59
  • Stage 3b means you have an eGFR between 30 and 44

Many people with Stage 3 kidney disease do not have any symptoms. But if there are any symptoms, they include:

  • Swelling in the hands and feet
  • Back pain
  • Urinating less than often

At this stage, you may face health complications. It is because waste buildups begin in the body, and kidneys may not work well. They include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Anemia
  • Bone disease

Consulting with an expert doctor and following the doctor’s advice is crucial at this stage. Using the medications as directed by the physician and taking good care of yourself can help you live a better quality of life despite the renal disease.

Stage 4 – Nearing kidney failure

Stage 4 CKD means you have an eGFR between 15 and 29. It means your kidneys are moderately or severely damaged and not working well. This stage should be taken very seriously as you are nearing kidney failure, and it can land you with dangerous complications if you are not careful.

Symptoms commonly faced by people at stage 4 kidney disease include:

  • Swelling on the hand and feet
  • Back pain
  • Urinate more or less than usual
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • A low number of red blood cells or anemia
  • Bone disease

At this stage, you need to consult a nephrologist regularly who comes up with a treatment plan that works for your condition. The doctor will monitor your kidney performance to ensure your disease does not deteriorate.

At this stage, the doctor will also discuss the possibility of a dialysis or kidney transplant and help you prepare for them if your kidney functions do not improve.

Stage 5 – Kidney failure

5 Stages of Kidney Disease
5 Stages of Kidney Disease

Stage 5 CKD means you have an eGFR of less than 15. It means either your kidneys are very close to failure or have failed. It is a critical condition that can turn life-threatening if proper measures are not taken timely.

If your kidneys fail, waste and toxins begin to build up in the blood, leaving you very sick. Symptoms of kidney failure are:

  • Itching
  • Muscle cramps
  • Feeling sick and throwing up
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Swelling in your hands and feet
  • Back pain
  • Urinating more or less than normal
  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble sleeping

Once your kidneys have failed, you will have to start dialysis or get a kidney transplant to live.

What Is Dialysis?

Dialysis helps to clean your blood when the kidneys have failed. The nephrologist will explain, in detail, what dialysis is and how it is done. There are several things you will need to discuss with your doctor. From the type of dialysis to planning your treatment and how you will manage your daily life with it, there are several things you must know before going for dialysis.

What Is Kidney Transplant?

A kidney transplant is a surgery that gives you a healthy kidney from someone else’s body. If you can find a living kidney donor, you may not need dialysis.

The best way to go for a kidney transplant is when your kidneys are getting close to failure to avoid any complications and get a transplant before facing any critical situation.

A few decades ago, a failed kidney meant death was likely. These days, with advancements in medicine and technology, things are a bit different. The average life expectancy for a dialysis patient is 5 to 10 years, depending on age and other factors. For the elderly with kidney failure, life expectancy is shorter.

Life Expectancy by Sex

Along with other factors, life expectancy for kidney disease depends on the patient’s age and sex. For someone around 60, stage 1 stage 2 kidney disease life expectancy will be approximately 15 years. That figure falls to 13 years, 8 years, and 6 years in the second, third, and fourth stages of kidney disease, respectively. For a 60-year old woman, stage 1 life expectancy is 18 years, while stage 2 is only one year less. For stage 3 kidney disease, her life expectancy would be 11 years.

Research shows that women have a slightly greater life expectancy at all ages. But during stages 4 and 5, everything slips away, and life expectancy becomes essentially identical between the sexes.

Life Expectancy by Age

Age is a crucial factor when it comes to kidney disease life expectancy, whether it is for men or women.

For a 70-year old man, life expectancy for the first four stages of kidney disease would be 9 years, 8 years, 6 years, and 4 years respectively. For a 70-year-old woman, life expectancy is 11 years, 8 years, and 4 years. Here too it is apparent that women start with a greater life expectancy. The differences disappear in the later stages of the disease.

Age and health problems can affect kidney functioning as well as the body’s ability to endure kidney disease. There is no cure to treat damaged kidneys or reverse the problem, but there are ways to manage your condition and live a better quality of life, despite everything. Visit a top-rated nephrologist at the Century Medical and Dental Center to learn more about CKD, how it occurs, its 5 stages, and how to cope with it. Experienced and knowledgeable doctors recommend the best ways to prevent the progression of kidney diseases, preserve your health and save years of life.

SHARE THIS POST Page Updated on Dec 13, 2021 by Dr. Dvorkina (Primary Care Doctor) of Century Medical & Dental Center
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