Chronic Kidney Disease
Our physicians at Commonwealth Nephrology Associates are specially trained to evaluate and slow the progression of chronic kidney disease and improve outcomes. While the most common causes of kidney disease are diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure), there are other conditions and factors that can damage the kidneys.
High blood sugar levels from diabetes damage blood vessels in the kidneys. If diabetes is not managed and blood sugar levels remain high over the course of many years, the kidneys will begin to fail.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure also damages blood vessels, which can lead to kidney failure. To make matters worse, blood pressure often rises with chronic kidney disease, which may further impair kidney function even when another medical condition initially caused the disease.
Other conditions, such as glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the part of the kidney that filters blood), polycystic kidney disease, obstructions caused by kidney stones, rheumatological disease, a blocked renal artery, or the long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can also lead to kidney damage and chronic kidney disease.
Whatever the cause, the sooner you begin to protect your kidneys, the better, as it may help prevent heart disease and improve your overall health. The most important step in treating kidney disease is controlling your blood pressure as well as your blood sugar if you have diabetes. For most people, the goal is to keep your blood pressure below 140/90, which may require lifestyle changes and/or medication.
That’s why it’s important to consult a doctor who specializes in the treatment of kidney disease. At Commonwealth Nephrology Associates, our kidney specialists will work with you to develop a plan to meet your blood pressure goals. They will also conduct tests to track changes in kidney function and detect kidney damage. To ensure continuity of care, our nephrologists will communicate with your primary care provider and other specialists at all times.
Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease
There are five stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD), classified according to the percent of kidney function you have. If you have less than 60% of kidney function for more than 3 months, you have chronic kidney disease.
Our kidney specialists will measure your percent of kidney function using a blood test called glomerular filtration rate, or GFR, which assesses the kidney’s ability to filter blood and remove waste. They will also measure the amount of nitrogen and creatinine (a waste product) in your blood and protein in your urine, all of which help determine kidney function.
- Stage 1: Minimal kidney damage, GFR = 90 and above
- Stage 2: Mild kidney damage, GFR = 60-89
- Stage 3: Moderate kidney damage, GFR = 30-59
- Stage 4: Severe kidney damage, GFR = 15-29
- Stage 5: Kidney failure (end-stage kidney disease), GFR = Below 15
The earlier you detect and treat kidney disease, the better your chances of slowing its progression, avoiding symptoms, extending your life, and improving your quality of life. Schedule a visit today with one of our kidney doctors at Commonwealth Nephrology Associates. We provide exceptional care for patients from 7 conveniently located offices in the Boston area. Call (617) 739-2100 or Request an Appointment online.