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Home > Services > Kidney Care > Kidney Conditions > Chronic Kidney Disease Stages

Chronic Kidney Disease Stages

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a chronic condition that happens when your kidneys slowly lose their ability to filter blood. CKD care aims to slow the progression of kidney damage and protect you from kidney failure, which is the most serious form of CKD.

CKD Stage 1

In stage 1, your kidneys still function normally and you may not know you're sick. Your doctor often detects the first signs of kidney disease through urinalysis when testing for another condition.

Your doctor can help you manage other conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure to slow the progression of CKD. In stage 1, you can expect to come back for additional kidney testing every 12 months.

CKD Stage 2

In stage 2, your kidneys may be having trouble keeping up with your body’s needs. Even though your kidneys are starting to show signs of damage, you may not experience symptoms.

At UVA, we can help you manage your risks, such as diabetes, through specialized support programs. We may coordinate additional services through our Heart and Vascular Center for patients with high blood pressure. We also use imaging tests to look for signs of permanent kidney damage, including:

  • MRI scan
  • CT scans
  • X-rays 

In stage 2, you can expect to come back for additional care and testing every 6 to 12 months.

CKD Stage 3

As your kidney function declines, you may start feeling sick due to the build up of waste and toxins in your blood. You may also start experiencing complications, such as anemia or difficulty managing other medical conditions.

Your doctor may recommend medications and changes to your diet to help you manage symptoms and prevent complications. In stage 3, you can expect to come back for additional care and testing every 3 to 6 months.

CKD Stage 4

In stage 4, you have severe kidney damage. As your kidneys continue to lose function, you may experience new symptoms such as fatigue and itchy skin.

Our goal in stage 4 is to optimize any remaining kidney function. Medication can help manage your symptoms and complications. Additional changes to your diet, such as limiting the amount of fluids you consume, can ease the amount of work your kidneys need to do. You can expect to come back for additional care and testing every three months, or more frequently if needed.

We also help you consider life-saving treatments in case your kidneys stop working and you experience kidney failure.


Dialysis uses filters your blood to help you maintain proper fluid balance. UVA is home to one of the largest academic dialysis facilities in the country, giving us access to the latest treatments available.

Kidney transplant 

A kidney transplant is an operation to replace your kidneys with healthy donor kidneys. At UVA, we receive patient from all over the country. 

CKD Stage 5

In stage 5, your kidneys stop functioning. However, many people are still able to live independently, work and travel.  

We can help you decide if dialysis or a kidney transplant is right for you.


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