Stage 1 of Chronic Kidney Disease

A person with stage 1 chronic kidney disease (CKD) has kidney damage with a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) at a normal or high level greater than 90 ml/min. There are usually no symptoms to indicate the kidneys are damaged. Because kidneys do a good job even when they’re not functioning at 100 percent, most people will not know they have stage 1 CKD. If they do find out they’re in stage 1, it’s usually because they were being tested for another condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure (the two leading causes of kidney disease).

Symptoms of stage 1 kidney disease

Other ways a person may discover they are in stage 1 CKD include:

  • Higher than normal levels of creatinine or urea in the blood
  • Blood or protein in the urine
  • Evidence of kidney damage in an MRI, CT scan, ultrasound or contrast X-ray
  • A family history of polycystic kidney disease (PKD)

Treating stage 1 kidney disease

Regular testing for protein in the urine and serum creatinine can show whether the kidney damage is progressing. Living a healthy lifestyle can help slow the progression of kidney disease. It is recommended that people in stage 1 CKD:

  • Eat a healthy diet:
    • Include a variety of grains(especially whole grains),, fresh fruits and vegetables.
    • Choose a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate in total fats.
    • Limit intake of refined and processed foods high in sugar and sodium.
    • Choose and prepare foods with less salt or high-sodium ingredients.
    • Aim for a healthy weight and include physical activity each day.
    • Keep protein within a healthy level, as recommended by a renal dietitian.
    • Consume adequate calories.
    • Consume vitamins and minerals as recommended by a doctor.
    • Potassium and phosphorus are usually not restricted unless blood levels are above normal
  • Keep their blood pressure at a healthy level.
    • 125/75 for those with diabetes
    • 130/85 for non-diabetes and non-proteinuria
    • 125/75 for non-diabetes with proteinuria
  • Keep their blood sugar or diabetes under control.
  • Have regular checkups with their doctor and include a serum creatinine test to measure GFR.
  • Take medicines as prescribed by their doctor.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Stop smoking.

Living with stage 1 kidney disease

There is no cure for kidney disease, but it may be possible to stop its progress or at least slow down the damage. In many cases, the correct treatment and lifestyle changes can help keep a person and their kidneys healthier longer.

If you would like to see nephrologist (a doctor who specializes in the care of kidneys), you can use DaVita's Find a Kidney Doctor tool to locate a nephrologist in your area.

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