Chronic kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition where your kidneys fail to work as they should.

Reviewed by Dr Emma Salisbury, Consultant Nephrologist

At a glance

What is chronic kidney disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a long-term condition where your kidneys don’t work properly. 

When your kidneys don’t work, waste products and excess fluid can’t be removed from your bloodstream – which can make you very unwell.  

The severity of kidney disease varies. Some people can manage their condition with lifestyle changes, while others require further treatment. 

At Cromwell Hospital, our private nephrologists (medical professionals specialising in kidney disorders) can assess, diagnose and treat all stages of kidney disease. 

People often display no symptoms during the early stages of kidney disease which can make it easy to miss. It’s often spotted during blood and urine tests that are being carried out for unrelated reasons. 

Advanced stages of kidney disease can cause symptoms including: 

  • Fatigue 
  • Swollen ankles, feet and hands 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Nausea 
  • Itching 

Kidney disease isn’t usually a standalone condition – it’s often caused by other conditions putting strain on your kidneys. These may include: 

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes 
  • Urine infections  
  • Conditions causing kidney inflammation 

The risk of developing kidney disease increases with age. It’s also more likely to occur in people who are of black or South Asian origin. 

People who are at higher risk of developing kidney failure may decide to have regular blood and urine tests so that any abnormalities can be detected early.

Diagnosis of kidney disease

Kidney disease is diagnosed through blood and urine tests as well as ultrasound imaging of the kidneys. 

Once diagnosed, your consultant will work out precisely how well your kidneys work by calculating your estimated glomerular filtration rate (e-GFR). 

Your e-GFR is used to estimate what stage of kidney disease you are experiencing.  

There are five stages of kidney disease, which are categorised by your e-GFR level: 

  • Stage one: Normal kidney function with signs of disease 
  • Stage two: Slightly reduced kidney function 
  • Stage three: Moderately reduced kidney function 
  • Stage four: Severely reduced kidney function 
  • Stage five: End-stage kidney disease 

Our consultant nephrologists will assess the severity of your kidney disease and create a tailored treatment plan to help you manage the condition. Many cases of kidney disease can be kept under control through medication and lifestyle changes. 

Kidney disease treatment

There are several short- and long-term treatments for kidney disease. Our consultant nephrologists can assess what stage of kidney disease you have and create a tailored treatment plan to help manage your condition. 

Private nephrologists in London

Based in London, our team of private nephrologists are experts in the diagnosis, treatment and management of kidney disorders.

Our locations

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