Chronic Kidney Disease

(View this page in French)

Kidney disease happens when there is damage to the kidneys that causes the kidney to not work well. When kidneys stop working, your body is faced with a build up of fluid and waste. Without treatment, kidney disease can cause death.

Generally kidney damage happens gradually over time. Individuals may not even know there is damage until damage is severe. As kidney damage increases, waste products that are normally filtered by the kidney and flushed away from your body as urine start to build up in your blood. This video created by Dr. Tangri explains the stages of kidney disease and how to know if you are at risk.

This build up of waste product can make you feel sick and, depending on what stage of kidney function you are at, can lead to other complications such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Anemia
  • Weak bones
  • Increased risk of heart and blood vessel disease

The amount of damage to your kidneys is categorized by five stages.

CKD stages STAGES 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

  • Follow a healthy lifestyle: Healthy eating, Be physically active, Stop smoking, Limit alcohol intake.
  • Take medications as prescribed
  • Aim for a healthy weight
  • Avoid anti-inflammatory pain medications e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen, high-dose ASA (more than 325 mg per day)
  • Maintain good blood pressure (less then 130/80)
  • If you have diabetes maintain good blood sugar *A1c less then 7% (blood test done at a lab)


  • Same as above
  • Follow a prescribed kidney friendly diet



  • End-of-life care (no dialysis or transplant)

Stage 5 chronic kidney failure is also referred to as end–stage kidney disease, wherein there is total or near–total loss of kidney function. As CKD progresses through the five stages, it eventually leads to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life. Having your kidneys checked and treated appropriately – particularly if you are at high risk – can keep CKD from getting worse. Taking medicines and making some lifestyle changes can help you manage your disease and feel better.

Download a stages fact sheet (PDF)

Are you a new patient or have you been referred to the renal program?