Hi, I’m 55 years old. I had a kidney infection back in December and another one two weeks ago both showing blood in urine and decreased kidney function. Last week, blood tests yielded Creatinine 1.15 and GFR Non African American 54. My family doctor said that we should monitor for now and that I am in Stage 1 of renal failure. On charts that I have looked at, the numbers that I have seem representative of Stage 3 renal failure and maybe a change of diet is needed or perhaps a visit to a kidney doctor. Are the numbers truly representative of Stage 1 or Stage 3? Should I see a kidney doctor?

The Stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD) require that a test be abnormal for at least three months before we designate them to be CKD.  We do not refer to them as stages of kidney failure.  Kidney failure implies kidney function is to the point where dialysis or transplant may be indicated.

Acute problems such as bladder or kidney infections can cause transient decreases in kidney function and do not represent CKD.  Stage 3 CKD means that the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) has been between 30-59 milliliters per minute per 1.73 meters squared and has also been present for at least three months.  Hence, I do not believe you need to see a kidney specialist at this point and that you should be retested with both blood and urine testing in about three months to determine is a stage of CKD is truly present.

Kidney failure implies that the eGFR is less than 15, that this has been present for three months and then we designate this as Stage 5 CKD.

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