The Truth about Stage 3 Kidney Disease

Termed as “moderate” in the five stages, stage 3 kidney disease can be thought of as the top of the hill in the disorder.  Stages one and two are climbing the hill; stage 3 is the peak of the hill while stages four and five are unfortunately downhill treks.  The journey downhill, however, is not unavoidable.

The kidneys, though small, carry a big responsibility in the overall health of the body.  It is their job to filter the blood; removing waste products and excess fluids to safely eliminate them from the body through urination.  The complex process keeps the body’s levels of chemicals, vitamins and minerals in balance.

While extremely important, this is not the only job of the kidneys.  They also produce hormones that go on to assist in many major bodily functions, such as the production of red blood cells, regulating blood pressure and controlling the metabolism of calcium.   Normal and properly functioning kidneys perform these essential jobs automatically and continually; cleaning approximately 200 quarts of fluid every 24 hours; with more than 90% of this fluid being returned to the system.  

When the kidneys cease to function at a normal level, toxins begin to build up in the blood.  Other organs and systems in the body begin to suffer when they do not receive the hormones that the kidneys would normally supply.  When kidney disease is suspected, tests to identify the level of the disease will be performed; the best of which being the GFR, or glomerular filtration rate.  To arrive at the GFR rate of a patient, several different criteria are used.  The individual’s age, gender, race and the level of serum creatinine determines that person’s GFR.   A simple blood test will determine the level of serum creatinine, which is a waste product that is usually removed from the blood by kidneys.  By measuring how much of this waste is in the blood, the doctor can identify the status of the disease. 

Stage 3 kidney disease is a middle line in the disorder.  Symptoms that may be experienced at this stage are fatigue, pain in the kidneys due to deterioration, urinary changes, retention of fluid and sleep issues.  In this stage, reparation of the kidneys is not possible.  It is possible, however, to work to keep the kidneys operating as long as possible; a job that is dealt with by nephrologists and dieticians.  It is also important to continually monitor blood pressure and blood sugar, which tend to increase as the kidney disease advances.  Dietary changes will be strongly recommended, with emphasis placed on the consumption of grains, foods low in saturated fats, limited refined foods and processed foods and appropriate amounts of protein.   Each case is carefully evaluated, with recommendations based on the individual’s specific condition.  Increasing exercise and maintaining a healthy weight will be also part of the new regimen.

There are medications that may be involved, especially if blood pressure and blood sugars are elevated.  Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) have both been found to slow the progress of stage 3 kidney disease and may be prescribed.  The combination of healthy eating plans, exercise plans and medications can all work together to halt the advancement of most stages of kidney disease. 

Kidney disease is a serious condition at any level, but stage 3 kidney disease should serve to be a turning point for the individual.  Since kidney disease cannot be cured, the focus must be on stopping the disease in its tracks to prevent further deterioration and complications.  Although changes of lifestyle may be difficult, the improvement in quality of life will be well worth the effort.

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Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.