What is stage 2 or stage 3 kidney disease? Staging.

CKD can be classified in stages depending on how serious the kidney damage is. There are 5 stages with stage 1 being the stage where the damage is the most mild and stage 5 the stage where the damage is the most advanced and involves kidney or renal failure.

In order to better understand your level of kidney function and determine your stage of kidney disease, there is a test called estimated glomerular filtration rate or eGFR. It can be calculated by taking the results of your blood creatinine test, body size, gender and your age. The GFR informs your physician about your stage of kidney disease. Now your treatment plan can be built accordingly. The lower the GFR number, the more your kidneys are impacted by the disease.

The KDIGO guideline (Kidney Disease - Improving Global Outcomes) classifies CKD into the following stages, depending on how bad the kidneys’ function or glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is impacted:

  Kidney Damage


GFR Level (mL/ min)

Increased Risk

Risk factors for kidney disease (e.g, diabetes, high blood pressure, family history, older age)

Stage 1

Slight kidney damage

Kidney damage with normal or higher GFR

90 or more

Stage 2


Kidney damage and mild decrease in GFR

60 to 89

Stage 3a 


Slight to moderate decrease in GFR

45 to 59

Stage 3b 


Moderate to severe decrease in GFR

30 to 44

Stage 4


Severe decrease in GFR

15 to 29

Stage 5

Kidney failure

Kidney failure (dialysis or kidney transplant might be needed)

Less than 15

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1. Adapted from Findlay’s and Isles’ “Clinical Companion in Nephrology”, Springer Ed., 2015.

2. Adapted from “Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology”, 6th edition, Elsevier Ed., 2015. 

3. National Kidney Foundation

4. KidneyFund.org

5. Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) CKD Work Group. KDIGO 2012 Clinical Practice Guideline for the Evaluation and Management of Chronic Kidney Disease. Kidney inter., Suppl. 2013; 3: 1–150.

6. Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) Lipid Work Group. KDIGO Clinical Practice Guideline for Lipid Management in Chronic Kidney Disease. Kidney inter., Suppl. 2013; 3: 259–305.

7. “Diabetic Nephropathy”, American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Care 2002 Jan; 25 (suppl 1): s85-s89.

8. Global, regional, and national burden of chronic kidney disease, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study, 2017.

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