There are five stages of chronic kidney disease and this division is based on the level of kidney functioning. Your doctor determines this level by performing special tests, which show in what extent your kidneys are cleaning your blood, which is known as glomerular filtration rate (GFR).
Kidney disease is a progressive type of disease, which means that the kidneys are getting weaker and weaker over time, which finally results in kidney failure. Unfortunately, there is no cure for chronic kidney disease, but there are various treatments available, which help slow down the progression of the disease.
If you or one of your relatives is in the stage 4 of chronic kidney disease, read the article to find out what to expect and what the prognosis is.
What Does Stage 4 Chronic Kidney Disease Mean
It has already been mentioned that the stages of chronic kidney disease are determined by glomerular filtration rate (GFR). It measures the abilities of kidneys to filter blood and it takes into consideration the person’s sex, size, and age.
According to GFR the stages of chronic kidney disease look as follows:
|Stage of chronic kidney disease (CKD)||GFR (mL/min)|
|1 (normal or high)||>90|
|2 (mild chronic kidney disease)||60-89|
|3A (moderate chronic kidney disease)||45-59|
|3B (moderate chronic kidney disease)||30-44|
|4 (severe chronic kidney disease)||15-29|
|5 (end stage)||<15|
As you can see stage four of chronic kidney disease is a severe level of the disease. It means that the kidneys lose almost 90 percent of their function and it’s a state which requires the assistance medical therapies.
As kidneys can barely function, a lot of waste products accumulate in the blood, which leads to a number of serious complications and unpleasant symptoms including heart diseases, bone disease, anemia, blood hypertension, and many others.
Stage 4 Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) – Symptoms
Due to severe loss of kidney functions stage 4 of chronic kidney disease may bring about a number of unpleasant and worrying symptoms. You may start to feel so called flank pain, which is kidney pain felt in your back. Some digestive problems appear so you can experience vomiting, nausea, or loss of appetite.
Moreover, sleeping problems and difficulties in concentrating appear. As urea accumulates in the blood, you may have bad breath or a metallic taste in your mouth. A lot of sufferers complain about extreme tiredness, shortness of breath, sleeping problems.
Additionally, numbness and tingling of the toes or fingers and restless leg syndrome are reported quite commonly too. Of course, urine problems are typical for this stage of the disease as your urine may have a dark orange or even brown color.
At this stage of the chronic kidney disease other body organs are affected too. Therefore, you may start to have cardiovascular problems, such as a heart disease, high blood pressure, or anemia. Bone issues are common as well.
At this point, you need to be regularly controlled by a nephrologist, a doctor who specializes in kidney diseases, in order to adjust for you the best possible treatment.
Stage 4 Chronic Kidney Disease – Treatment Options
Stage 4 of chronic kidney disease is a severe stage, but it can still be controlled and slowed down if the patient follows the treatment plan thoroughly. Even at this stage of the disease, there are several treatment options.
1. Kidney Transplantation
Kidney transplantation is the replacement of your kidney with a healthy one. You can get a new kidney from a living donor or from a person who has died. The first reaction of your body to a new kidney, however, is as if foreign tissue appeared in you. Thus, you will have to take special medicines which will prevent the rejection of your new kidney by your body.
If your body accepts your new kidney, it will usually start to function at once. However, if the rejection happens, you will need dialysis and a second transplant. Also, you need to be aware that kidney transplant is a treatment and not a cure to chronic kidney disease.
Even if your new kidney functions well, you still suffer from chronic kidney disease and probably you will still have take some medicines or follow dietary rules, which you had before the operation.
Hemodialysis is a kind of treatment in which water and extra fluids are removed from you blood. The patient can do it at home, which is known as home hemodialysis or in a dialysis center. During the procedure the blood is pumped through special soft tubes to a dialysis machine. Then it goes to a dialyzer, also called an artificial kidney, which is a special filter.
Once your blood is filtered, it returns to the blood stream and you lose almost no blood during the whole process. If you choose hemodialysis in a dialysis center, you will have to go there three times a week and every session lasts for 3-5 hours. If you choose home hemodialysis, you are more flexible when it comes to the frequency of the sessions. On average, however, you will have to do it every day for about two hours.