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HealthInfo Canterbury

How is CKD diagnosed?

Doctors use several tests to diagnose chronic kidney disease (CKD).These include:

A test that measures the level of creatinine in your blood can show how well your kidneys are working.

Creatinine is a waste product your muscles make, which your kidneys then filter out of your blood. It then leaves your body in your urine.

If you have kidney failure, it means your kidneys aren't working properly and don't filter your blood well. As a result, the amount of creatinine in your blood rises. So measuring your blood creatinine level is a good way to show how well your kidneys are working.

Stages of CKD

Another, more accurate measurement of kidney function is called the eGFR (which stands for estimated glomerular filtration rate). This looks at your blood creatinine level, age, and sex to measure how much blood your kidneys are filtering. The measurement used is mls/min, but it can help to think of it as a percentage of normal kidney function. There are five stages of CKD, with stage 1 being the mildest, and stage 5 being the most severe.

Stages of chronic kidney disease


Amount of damage



Slight kidney damage

More than 90


Mild drop in kidney function

60 to 89


Moderate drop in kidney function

30 to 59


Severe drop in kidney function

15 to 29


Very severe, or end-stage kidney failure

Less than 15

On the next page: How is chronic kidney disease treated?

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Nephrology Department, Canterbury DHB. Page created August 2016.


See also:

Understanding your kidney function results

Page reference: 202942

Review key: HICKD-117713