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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Overview of chronic kidney disease (CKD)

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If you have chronic kidney disease (CKD), it means your kidneys aren't working properly and are unlikely to get better. Chronic means long-lasting.

CKD often happens gradually. It might be mild and never get any worse. In this case, you will not need hospital care, but your GP will regularly check how your kidneys are working.

If you have CKD, it's important to look after your kidneys to help prevent further kidney damage.

If your CKD becomes more serious, you'll need to be cared for by hospital kidney specialists called nephrologists.

Having CKD means you have a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke. See Heart risk assessment for information about ways to reduce your risk.

Symptoms of CKD

Kidney disease often has no symptoms, particularly in the early stages. It is not uncommon for people to lose up to 70% of their kidney function before developing any symptoms.

The first signs may be general and can include:

It's important to see your doctor regularly. Doctors can detect CKD with simple blood and urine tests.

Early detection and treatment of kidney disease is important as it can help slow down or stop your kidney disease getting worse.

Diagnosing CKD

There are several tests that can be used to detect kidney disease.

There are different stages of CKD ranging from normal function to kidney failure. This Kidney Research UK page explains the different stages and how likely your kidney disease is to get worse.

Getting help with CKD

Kidney Health New Zealand has information to help you to understand more about your kidney health. You can contact Kidney Health New Zealand on 0800-543-639.

The Christchurch Kidney Society supports patients and families of patients who are approaching or have already reached end-stage renal failure, including those who have received a successful transplant. You can contact the Christchurch Kidney Society on (03) 341-0906.

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On the next page: Causes of CKD

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed July 2021.


Page reference: 202909

Review key: HIKID-202879