For most people with mild CKD (stages 1-3) treatment will consist of adopting a healthy lifestyle and taking some medications to control their blood pressure and prevent their kidneys from getting worse.
If your CKD progresses to stage 4-5 you will need to start thinking about the treatment options available for kidney failure.
Read our guide to living with early stage chronic kidney disease (PDF 4Mb)
Choosing the treatment option that's right for you
Your options, CKD stages 1-3
Good blood pressure control is important for people with Chronic Kidney Disease
Why have I been referred to the CKD clinic?
Usually people are referred to the CKD clinic by their family doctor or another hospital doctor such as a diabetic specialist. You will have been referred because blood test results have shown a problem with your kidneys that requires further investigation.
Who will I see at the CKD clinic?
You will see a specialist kidney doctor (often referred to as a Consultant Nephrologist). You may also see a specialist nurse for further information and education.
What will happen at the CKD clinic?
When you come to the clinic, staff will:
- Measure your blood pressure
- Check your weight
- Test your urine
- It will be very helpful if you bring your medications (or a list of them) for the doctor to see
At the end of the consultation the doctor will let you know if you are likely to need any further investigations such as blood tests and an ultrasound scan of your kidneys (a procedure that creates an image of an organ in the body) to find out the cause and extent of your kidney problem. Some people may also need a kidney biopsy (where a tiny piece of tissue is removed from the kidney and examined under a microscope), this is usually done as a day case procedure. The doctor will then be able to advise you on what treatment will be best for you.
How often will I have to attend the CKD clinic?
This varies from one person to another, you may be asked to return to the clinic or you may be able to go back to your family doctor for ongoing care and follow up.
What can I do to help look after my kidneys?
The doctors and other staff in the CKD clinic will explain how you can help protect your kidneys from further damage.
This will include some or all of 'the big six'
- Keep your blood pressure down
- Eat a healthy diet
- Take regular exercise
- Give up smoking
- Reduce your alcohol intake
- If you are diabetic, get your diabetes under control
You may also need some medications to help protect your kidneys and you will be advised about avoiding medications that may further damage your kidneys.
For a small percentage of patients who have more unusual causes of their kidney problem, there may be some additional more specific treatments to help keep your kidneys healthy, such as medications to suppress your immune system.
What will happen in the future?
Often your kidney disease will remain stable or progress at a very slow rate and you will be reviewed by the clinic or your family doctor at regular intervals. Generally if you have more than 20% of kidney function you will never need to have dialysis or a transplant even though you do not have perfect kidney function. For a smaller number of people, the kidneys will continue to deteriorate and you will need to consider further treatment options such as dialysis, transplantation or conservative management.
You can help look after your kidneys by making small changes to your lifestyle. The 'the big six' suggests what to focus on.
You can read or download our information booklet 'Your Kidneys, Your Health' - a guide to living with early stage chronic kidney disease - from the panel to the left of this page.