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Kidney Diseases

How many stages are there to kidney failure?

10/10/2008

Question:

I am currently in stage 4 of kidney failure. Would that make the pain so bad it is difficult to walk? How many stages are there to kidney failure?

Answer:

There are 5 stages of kidney failure, as defined by the GFR (glomerular filtration rate), which is a measurement of the filtering function of the kidneys.  Stage 2 has a GFR of 60-90; stage 3, 30-60; stage 4, 15-30; and stage 5, below 15.  Dialysis usually needs to be started sometime in stage 5. 

Most causes of kidney failure do not cause pain; so if you are having severe pain, you need to ask your doctor why, and your doctor should look for a cause.  If the pain is in your kidney area, it may mean that you have an infection or a kidney stone, or are bleeding into a kidney cyst.  If the pain is elsewhere, there may be a strained muscle, or an infection or tumor somewhere.   

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Response by:

Mildred   Lam, MD Mildred Lam, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University