Being diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD) can be a shock. It may make you angry, sad or terrified. Whatever you are feeling, there are two important things to remember:

  • The treatment of CKD has come a long way in the last 40 years. While still a serious condition, CKD patients who learn about managing their disease and follow their treatment plan do very well and, after the initial period of adjustment, are able to live happy productive lives.
  • There are people who care. CKD healthcare professionals have learned a lot about how to help patients with CKD lead the happiest and healthiest life possible. Plus, there are numerous resources and support available to you. You are not alone.

CKD Overview
Below, we've provided a brief overview, which we hope you find helpful. We've also provided links to credible resources for more information on chronic kidney disease.

What Kidneys Do. The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs found in the back of the body, just above the waist. Each kidney is about the size of a fist. They are responsible for many functions that are critical to health and life.

When kidneys work properly, they:

  • Filter material in your blood from the foods, drinks and medications you take in, separating the waste from the nutrients your body needs.
  • Remove drugs and toxins from your body in the form of urine.
  • Regulate the amount of water and certain minerals in your blood.
  • Release hormones into your blood that help regulate blood pressure, make red blood cells and strengthen bones.
  • Learn more about how your kidneys work.

When a person's kidneys do not function properly, extra water and waste stay in the body, which can lead to serious health problems. This condition is called Chronic Kidney Disease, or CKD.

CKD Causes. Leading causes for CKD are diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Certain ethnic groups, including African Americans and Pacific Islanders, are at higher risk as well as people with family histories of CKD or CKD risk factors.

One in seven people in the United States have CKD. Many of these people don't realize that they have CKD because symptoms are often not very noticeable. If caught early, CKD can be slowed and the risk of serious health problems can be greatly reduced.

5 Stages of CKD
Source: The Renal Association







Normal kidney function but urine findings, structural abnormalities or genetic trait point to kidney disease

Observation, control of blood pressure. Read more >



Mildly reduced kidney function and other findings (as for stage 1) point to kidney disease

Observation, control of blood pressure and risk factors. Read more >



Moderately reduced kidney function

Observation, control of blood pressure and risk factors. Read more >


15 to 29

Severely reduced kidney function

Planning for end stage renal failure. Read more >


< 15 or on dialysis

Very severe or end stage kidney failure (sometimes called established renal failure)

Renal replacement therapy. Read more >

*Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is the best overall index of kidney function. Your doctor can calculate it from the results of your blood creatinine test, your age, race, gender and other factors.

Treatment for Stage 5 CKD. Life can be sustained with only 10-15% of kidney function. Once kidney function drops below this level, some kind of renal replacement therapy is needed to clean waste and remove excess water from the body. Options include hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and transplantation.

For more information, contact

Satellite Healthcare — Support for Patients New To Chronic Kidney Disease